Trochalopteron squamatum (Gould), Jerdon B. Ind. ii, p. 46; Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 420.
From Sikkim my friend Mr. Gammie writes: "I have never as yet found more than one nest of the Blue-winged Laughing-Thrush, and this one was found on the 18th May at Mongphoo, at an elevation of about 3500 feet. The nest was placed in a bush (one of the Zingiberaceae), growing in a marshy place, in the midst of dense scrub, at a height of about 4 feet from the ground, and was firmly attached to several upright stems. It was composed of dry bamboo-leaves, held together by the stems of delicate creepers, and was lined with a few black fibres. It was cup-shaped, and measured externally 5·7 in diameter by 3·6 in height, and internally 3·7 in width by 2·6 in depth. The nest contained three eggs, which were unfortunately almost ready to hatch off, so that three is probably the normal number of the eggs."
According to Mr. Hodgson's notes the Blue-winged Laughing-Thrush breeds in May and June in the central region of Nepal in forests, at elevations of from 2000 to 6000 feet. The nest is placed in a fork of a branch on some small tree, and is a large mass of dry leaves and coarse dry grass, 7 or 8 inches in diameter externally, mortar-shaped, the cavity about 2·5 deep, and lined with hair-like fibres. The nest, though composed of loose materials, is very firm and compact. They lay four or five eggs, unspotted, verditer-blue, one of which is figured as a broad regular oval, only slightly compressed towards one end, measuring 1·2 by 0·9.
One of the eggs taken by Mr. Gammie (the others were unfortunately broken) is a long, almost cylindrical, oval, very obtuse at both ends and slightly compressed towards the smaller end, so that the egg has a pyriform tendency. It measures 1·25 by 0·82. The colour is an excessively pale greenish blue, precisely the same as that of the eggs of Sturnia malabarica; but then this present egg was nearly ready to hatch off when taken, and the fresh eggs are somewhat deeper colored.
Subsequent to his letter above quoted, Mr. Gammie on the 10th June found a second nest of this species similar to the first, containing three nearly fresh eggs. These are similar in shape to that above described, but in colour are a beautiful clear verditer-blue, altogether a much brighter and richer tint than that of the first. They measure 1·2 and 1·25 by 0·88.
One nest was taken by Mr. Gammie above Mongphoo at an elevation of about 4500 feet on the 30th of April. It was placed in a bush at a height of about 6 feet from the ground, and contained three fresh eggs. It was a loosely put together, massive cup, some 7 inches in diameter and 4 in height externally. It was composed mainly of fine twigs, creeper-stems, and grass, with a few bamboo-leaves intermingled, and the cavity was carefully lined with bamboo-leaves, and then within that thinly with black fibrous roots; the cavity measured 3·7 inches in diameter and 2·3 in depth.
The eggs of this species, of which I have now received many, appear to be typically somewhat elongated ovals, and not unfrequently they are more or less pyriform or even cylindrical. As a rule, they are fairly glossy, a bright pale, somewhat greenish blue, quite spotless, and varying a little in tint. In length they appear to vary from 1·11 to 1·25, and in breadth from 0·82 to 0·91; but the average of eleven eggs is 1·2 by 0·87.