(912) Horornis pallidus pallidus.
The Pale Bush-Warbler.
Horeites pallidus Brooks, J. A. S. B., xli, p. 78 (1872) (Kashmir). Horornis pallidus. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 436.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper plumage olive-brown, the wing- and tail-feathers edged with brighter, more rufous-brown; a supercilium pale buffy-yellow, almost white; lores and a line through the eye dark brown; sides of the head mottled grey and pale brown; lower plumage dull greyish, the abdomen paler and tinged with yellow; the flanks and under tail-coverts fulvous-brown; axillaries and under wing-coverts pale yellowish white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown; bill horny-brown above, below fleshy-horny tipped darker; legs and feet pale fleshy or yellowish horny.
Measurements. Wing 55 to 58 mm.; tail 46 to 51 mm.; tarsus about 22 mm.; culmen about 9 to 10 mm.
Distribution. Throughout the N.W. Himalayas as far East as Garhwal. Hume's record of this bird from Shillong is probably due to H. pallidipes having been mistaken for it. In several years' stay in the Khasia Hills I never came across it, whereas H. pallidipes was not rare.
Nidification. The Pale Bush-Warbler breeds throughout the North-West Himalayas between 7,000 and 10,000 feet, possibly sometimes down as low as 5,000 feet, during May and June. The nest is domed and round in shape, very untidy and large for the size of the bird. It is made outwardly of coarse grasses, inwardly of finer grasses with a dense lining of feathers, and is invariably placed low down in thick bushes. The eggs are nearly always four in number and are, like those of other species of this genus, a deep chocolate in colour, sometimes rather paler with deeper mottling at the larger end. Twenty-three eggs average 17.3 x 13.1 mm.
Habits. In Summer found between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, in Winter it wanders down to some 3,000 feet. It keeps closely to dense cover and, although it is an active little bird, constantly on the move, it is difficult to watch. The notes consist of four or five very loud clear whistles rapidly repeated and very like in character those of H. fortipes. Davidson records hearing this bird at 3,000 feet in the Jhelum Valley; possibly this may have been H. fortipes but so accurate a field-naturalist is hardly likely to have been mistaken.