(598) Oreocincla aurea aurea.
Turdus aureus Holandre, F. de M. Ann. de la Moselle, 1825, p. 60 (Metz). Oreocincla varia. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 153, footnote.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Exactly like Oreocincla dauma dauma but larger and with 14 tail-feathers.
Colours of soft parts as in that bird.
Measurements. Total length about 300 mm.; wing 150 to 167 mm.; tail 112 to 118 mm.; tarsus about 35 to 37 mm. ; culmen 25 to 28 mm.
Distribution. East Siberia from Lake Baikal to the Pacific Ocean, Japan and Northern China. In Winter it migrates South to Formosa, South China, Burma and Assam.
I have kept aurea as a full species distinct from dauma, for the 14 tail-feathers are found constant in local races in Annam (angustirostris) and Java (horsfieldi), which differ from aurea aurea in much the same way as imbricata and nilgiriensis differ from dauma dauma. In both these races the pale spots are wanting above and the bills differ in size. I cannot distinguish the so-called hansii (Formosa) from the typical race.
Nidification. White's Thrush breeds in considerable numbers in Japan on the mountains between 2,000 feet and 4,000 feet during May and June. The nest is described as a big, compact cup of grass, moss and leaves lined with roots but with no mud. It is placed on low trees in thin forest some 10 or 15 feet from the ground. The eggs usually number four, rarely three or five. The ground-colour varies from very pale sea-green to a pale clay-colour and the markings consist of freckles of reddish so numerous and tiny that the eggs seem unicoloured as are the eggs of 0. dauma. Generally in each clutch there is one egg with fewer, bolder blotches contrasting well with the others. Fifty eggs average 33.5 x 24.0 mm : maxima 36.0 x 24.8 and 33.4 x 25.0 mm.; minima 31.0 x 24.1 and 34-.1 x 22.9 mm.
Habits. This Thrush is said to be a very shy, retiring bird but it is found both in forest and in semi-open country and orchards.
It feeds almost entirely on the ground and both on insects and berries. Its flight is strong and sustained and very swift. Its note has been described as loud and sibilant, and Godlewski says that it utters a melancholy whistle, difficult to describe.