(603) Zoothera monticola.
The Large Brown Thrush.
Zoothera monticola Vigors, P. Z. S.? 1831, p. 172 (Himalayas, Sikkim); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 157.
Vernacular names. Daokat-buku-loubi (Cachari).
Description. Whole upper plumage dark slaty-brown, each feather narrowly edged with black; forehead and crown tinged with rufous; wings dark brown edged paler on the wings and tipped with fulvous on some of the median and greater coverts; sides of the head brown with small fulvous spots and the ear-coverts streaked with the same; chin and middle of the throat white, narrowly barred with dark brown; breast and sides of the throat fulvous very heavily marked with olive-brown and tipped black ; lower breast and abdomen white, the feathers boldly tipped with blackish brown ; under tail-coverts dark olive-brown with broad white tips; axillaries white tipped with black; under wing-coverts black with white tips.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill dark brown to almost black ; legs and feet light horny-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 285 mm.; wing 134 to 145 mm.; tail 83 to 89 mm.; tarsus about 36 mm.; culmen 34 to 38 mm.
The Young bird is darker than the adult; the upper parts are streaked with fulvous ; the lower parts are more fulvous and more heavily barred and spotted with blackish.
Distribution. The Himalayas from the Sutlej Valley to Assam, Manipur, Chin Hills.
Nidification. The Large Brown Thrush breeds in May and June and occasionally in early July from 4,000 feet up to 9,000 or 10,000 feet. The nest is a deep, well-made cup of living green moss, well matted together and lined with fine roots. It is usually placed some 10 to 20 feet up in a small tree or a moss-covered stump growing in dense forest, in the Khasia Hills the favourite site being a Rhododendron. The eggs number three or four and are typical Thrushes' of the boldly-marked Blackbird type. The ground-colour varies from bright pale sea-green to a pale yellowish green or cream, whilst the markings consist of numerous small blotches of reddish to deep brown profusely scattered over the whole surface. Some eggs are very handsome. Fifty eggs average 30.0 x 21.3 mm.: maxima 33.0 x 21.2 and 30.7 x 23.0 mm.; minima 26.5 x 20.2 and 30.0 x 19.2 mm.
Habits. This Thrush is sedentary in its habits, only moving a little lower to some 2,000 or 3,000 feet in the winter- It is one of the most shy of all the Thrushes, haunting damp evergreen forest with ample undergrowth, where it skulks on the ground, feeding upon ground-berries and fruits, or on insects which it hunts for in the fallen rubbish. Its flight is strong and last but it is difficult to flush, generally escaping by hopping into denser undergrowth. It is a silent bird but has some quite sweet notes as well as a long-drawn rather wailing whistle.