The Saxicolinae or Chats form a natural section of the Thrushes - very nearly related to the Flycatchers and with many of their habits. The Chats feed entirely on insects, which they capture generally on the ground from a fixed perch, such as the summit of a stone, a stalk of grass, or a branch of a bush, and then return at once to their post of observation. The characteristic habit of the Chats is the frequent movement and expansion of the tail. The majority of this subfamily are migratory, and they have a very marked seasonal change of plumage caused by the abrasion of the margins of the feathers in the late autumn or early spring. The sexes usually differ very much in colour.

In the Chats the bill is strong and the rictal bristles occasionally very numerous and strong ; the wing in most is pointed; the tail, of twelve feathers, is seldom or never longer than the wing ; and the tarsus and foot are of medium size and strength.

The Chats nest in holes in the ground or in walls, or among heaps of stones, and they lay eggs which, so far as is known, are always marked with brown or rufous.

Key to the Genera.

a. Bill broad at base ; rictal bristles numerous and strong.
a1. Tail shorter than wing; outer feathers reaching nearly to tip…………………….PRATINCOLA, p. 58.
b1. Tail about as long as wing; outer feathers falling short of tip by about half length of
tarsus…………………….OREICOLA, p. 66.
b. Bill narrow, not strikingly broad at base ; rectal bristles few and weak.
c1. Tail with a pattern of two colours…………………….SAXICOLA, p. 67.
d1. Tail entirely of one colour…………………….CERCOMELA, p. 79.
* The only exception I know of is Thamnobia

The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.2 1890.
Title in Book: 
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Vol. 2

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