(601) Oreocincla mollissima simlaensis, subsp. nov.
The Simla Plain-backed Thrush.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Similar to O. m. mollissima but paler, less rufescent above and with a more golden-rufous tinge. The difference in depth of colour between the three geographical races is very constant.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in O. m. mollissima. Type, No. 184.108.40.2067, Hume Coll. (British Museum). Type-locality: Simla, Punjab.
Distribution. North-West Himalayas from Garhwal and the Simla Hills to Chamba below 14,000 feet.
Nidification. Mr. S. L. Whymper and later Captain E. E. Skinner found this bird breeding m Garhwal in the Dumdar and Nila Valleys at 13,000 feet, almost at the limit of the forest-line. The nests were typical Blackbirds' nests, but without any mud in their construction, placed on willows broken down by the snows. The eggs, always three only in number, are not the least like those of Oreocincla dauma but more like well-marked Blackbirds' eggs, though darker and more richly marked. Two clutches in my collection, with both of which the parent bird was obtained, measure only 29.3 x 21.3 mm. The nests were taken in the end of June.
Habits. Similar to those of O. m. mollissima but ascending the hills to a much greater elevation and not. descending nearly so low even in midwinter. Like O. m. mollissima it is a forest bird and is not found in the bare uplands where Whitehead's Thrush is always found.