572. Turdus rubrocanus rubrocanus

(572) Turdus rubrocanus rubrocanus Gray.
THE WESTERN GREY-HEADED THRUSH.
Turdus castaneus castaneus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 132.
Turdus rubrocanus rubrocanus, ibid. vol. viii, p. 624.
This form of the Grey-headed Thrush is extremely common over the greater part of Kashmir, the Murree Hills and Kuman into Eastern Nepal. In Sikkim it is a rare bird and becomes still more so Eastwards, though it has occurred East as far as Manipur. West it was obtained in the “wooded nullahs of the Samana” by Whitehead, who also met with “a family party on the 9th of August on the Safed Koh at 8,000 feet.” Stevens never found it breeding in Sikkim, though he obtained a female in bleeding condition on the Singalila Ridge at 10,000 feet.
This Thrush breeds in forest and is particularly fond of well-wooded ravines and broken hill-sides between 6,000 and 8,000 feet. Rattray (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xvi. p. 657, 1905) says that it is “common round Murree and one of the commonest birds round Changla and Danga Galis. Nests were in varied situations. I found them in banks, holes of rocks, among roots of dead fallen trees and in a hole in a tree-trunk up to 10 or 12 feet from the ground. Birds very tame ; did not leave the nest until I came within three or four yards of the tree or nest.”
Judging from the notes of my other correspondents, most nests seem to be placed in banks in hollows or among the roots of the larger trees, and especially do they resort to the earthy bases of the great fallen trees. Bates, however, found that they sometimes built their nests in hollows in decayed stumps, and he considered that such places were more often used than banks.
The nests are very like those of the Grey-winged Blackbird. As a rule they are massive, rather deep cups, made, like those of that bird, outwardly of moss, inwardly of roots, grass and leaves lined with fine bents or fine roots. Apparently very often the nest is made without any mud lining, though Hume mentions earth as being one of the substances found in the base of the nest taken by him in Koteghur, and Davidson says that all those taken by him in Kashmir had mud linings. Fern-fronds and scraps of bracken are sometimes used both in the inner and outer con¬struction of this Thrush’s nest, and one taken in Changla Gali is described as being made almost entirely of “chips of dry fern- leaves and bracken.”
The breeding season is May and June but I have eggs taken in the first fortnight of April by both Rattray and Buchanan, while Marshall got eggs just ready to hatch on the 20th March. Davidson also says that some birds must breed very early, as he shot young birds flying on the 28th May (Ibis, 1906, p. 223).
The eggs number three or four, one as often as the other. Taking them as a series they are, I think, nearer in appearance to the common English Blackbirds’ eggs than those of any other of our Indian Thrushes except the Central Asian Blackbird but, even so, are much more boldly blotched and also brown in tint rather than green. There are no eggs with blue ground and scattered blotches of brown, as in the eggs of the southern Blackbirds, but one or two clutches have a pale grey-green ground handsomely and profusely blotched all over with large, irregular, primary marks of brown and secondary marks of grey, both kinds most numerous at the extreme larger end.
Fifty eggs average 30.6 x 21.6 mm. : maxima 35.0 x 21.0 and 29.6 x 22.8 mm. ; minima 28.1 x 21.2 and 30.4 x 20.5 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
572. Turdus rubrocanus rubrocanus
Spp Author: 
Gray.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
572
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
119
Common name: 
Western Grey Headed Thrush
M_ID: 
27388
M_SN: 
Turdus rubrocanus rubrocanus
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
13747

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