(595) Oreocincla dauma dauma.
The Small-billed Mountain-thrush.
Turdus dauma Lath., Ind. Orn , i, p. 302 (1790) (India). Oreocincla -dauma. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 152.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. In Winter the whole upper plumage is ochraceous-brown, each feather with a terminal crescentic black bar and a subterminal golden-fulvous spot; lesser wing-coverts dark brown with bold fulvous tips median coverts with fulvous tips and edges and greater coverts with the central portion of the outer webs fulvous ; quills brown edged with fulvous and the inner secondaries narrowly tipped with the same ; tail, lateral feathers dark brown fading to whitey-brown on the outermost and tipped with white, central four feathers olive-brown ; sides of the head fulvous spotted with black and with a black patch formed by the tips of the ear-coverts ; below white tinged with fulvous, especially on the breast, in varying degree and barred on sides of neck, the breast, flanks and all but the centre of the abdomen with crescentic tips of black; axillaries white and black, reversed on the under wing-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown; bill, upper mandible dark horny-brown, lower mandible pale horny-brown, dark at the tip; legs and feet pale fleshy to horny white.
Measurements. Total length about 260 mm.; wing 130 to 149 mm.; tail 93 to 103 mm.; tarsus 33 to 34 mm.; culmen 29 to 30 mm.
Young birds are very like the adults, but the black markings are more in the nature of bars than crescentic squamations and the general rufous tinge is deeper.
In Summer the colour is much duller and the marks less prominent.
Distribution. In Summer it frequents the Himalayas from Hazara to Assam above 8,000 feet; the mountains of Central Burma to Tenasserim and North-East Burma. In Winter it straggles into various parts of the Plains of North-West India, but for the most part keeps to the foot-hills and the country immediately adjacent. Possibly Jerdon's record from the Wynaad should refer to the next bird.
Nidification. This Mountain-Thrush breeds, during May and June, in the Himalayas from the extreme West at least as far East as the Mishmi Hills at heights between 7,000 and 10,000 feet. The nest is made chiefly of green moss mixed with leaves, roots and grass, and lined with fine roots and in shape is a wide, rather shallow cup. As a rule it is placed some 5 to 10 feet up in a densely-foliaged tree such as a rhododendron. The eggs number three or four, most often the former. In colour they are a pale clay or yellowish green, but in most cases they are so closely freckled over with pale reddish that the general effect is an almost uni-coloured dark clay or reddish egg. In a few specimens the blotches are more distinct and larger and in these the groundcolour shows up more. Twenty eggs average 30.5 x 22.2 mm.: maxima 33.0 x 22.1 and 31.3 x 23.6 mm.; minima 29.0 x 23.4 and 29.3 x 20.8 mm.
Habits. The Small-billed Mountain-Thrush is a bird of deep forests, especially haunting such as have much broken ground and large moss-covered boulders and rocks, amongst which they quietly hunt for insects and berries. They are almost entirely ground-feeders, slinking about under the bushes and among the rocks in a shy, retiring manner, though they do not seem to shun observation in the cold weather. In the breeding-season Rattray describes them as very shy. They are said to have a fine song, but no recent observer seems to have heard this song and birds observed by myself were always extraordinarily quiet.