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Black-necklaced (Spot-breasted) Scimitar-Babbler
The Black-necklaced Scimitar-Babbler has been proposed as a new species endemic to Taiwan, split from the Spot-breasted Scimitar-Babbler (see Handbook of Birds of the World Vol. 12, p. 167, 2007, Lynx Edicions). This is a medium-sized (24 cm) bird with a fairly long, curved bill. It is brownish on the head, becoming rufous-brown on the nape, back and tail, and richer rufous-chestnut on the wings. The throat is white, bordered on the upper breast by a thick necklace of neat, broad black streaks. The central lower underparts are white, and the flanks are grayish-rufous. The lores are white, and there is a conspicuous black moustachial stripe. The eye is yellowish, the bill grayish and the legs are pale brown or grayish brown. Sexes are alike.
The Black-necklaced Scimitar-Babbler feeds on insects that it finds mainly on the ground by scratching away at the surface, and may also eat some fruit. This species favors the upper undergrowth and lower tree levels of foothill, submontane and montane forest from 50 m. up to elevations of 2000 to 2500 m. Little information on breeding habits is available, but its nest is likely similar to that of the Spot-breasted Scimitar-Babbler from which the Taiwan species has been split: a loose dome with a side entrance constructed of leaves, coarse grasses and plant fibres, placed on the ground or low in a bush. The clutch consists of 4 eggs.
Pairs often sing together, the male producing a loud whistled “whiu’ whi”, quickly answered by the female with “wu” or “woh”, continuing as a duet of “whiu’whi – woh, whiu’whi – woh”. Other loud, hoarse whistles are also produced. The Black-necklaced Scimitar-Babbler is a common resident of Taiwan.
References: Handbook of Birds of the World Vol. 12; Forktail 22: 85–112, “A partial revision of the Asian babblers (Timaliidae)”, Nigel J. Collar, 2006; A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Mackinnon and Phillipps).