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The Turdidæ or Thrush Family

This heterogeneous family includes thrushes, chats, robins, accentors, and dippers.

The southern pied bush-chat (Pratincola atrata) is one of the commonest and most familiar birds of the Nilgiris. It frequents gardens and is often found near houses: hence it is known as the hill-robin. The cock is clothed in black except the lower part of the back, the under parts, and a bar on the wing, which are white. Those parts that are black in the cock are brown in the hen, while her back and under parts are russet instead of white, but the white bar on the wing persists. This species lives on insects. It dwells in low shrubs and captures its quarry on the ground. It nests in a hole in a bank or well, lining the same with grass or hair. But summer visitors to the hills are not likely to come across the eggs, because these are usually hatched before May.

The Nilgiri blackbird (Merula simillima) is very like the blackbird of England. The plumage of the cock, however, is not so black, and the legs, instead of being brown, are reddish. Its charming song, with which all who have visited Ootacamund are familiar, is almost indistinguishable from that of its European cousin.

The Nilgiri thrush (Oreocincla nilgirensis) resembles the European thrush in appearance. Its upper plumage is pale brown, spotted with black and buff; its throat and abdomen are white with black drops. This bird has a fine powerful song, but he who wishes to hear it has usually to resort to one of the forests on the plateau of the Nilgiris.