Subfamily RUTICILLINAE

The Ruticillinae, or Redstarts and Robins, connect the Chats with the Thrushes. They feed principally on the ground, their tarsi are lengthened, and their feet are well adapted for running. They are almost entirely insectivorous, and they are seldom or never gregarious like the Thrushes.

Many of the Ruticillinae are migratory; others are resident. The seasonal change of plumage in the majority of the species, caused by the abrasion of the margins of the feathers, is considerable, especially in the Redstarts.

The Redstarts and Robins have the habit of frequently moving the tail and drooping the wings; they mostly build their nests in holes of trees and rocks, and their eggs are of various colours, generally spotted, but in the case of Ruticilla plain blue.

Key to the Genera,

a. Tail forked.
a1. Tail much longer than wing; middle rectrices one third the length of tail…………………….HENICURUS, p. 82.
b1. Tail about equal to wing ; middle rectrices half the length of tail…………………….HYDROCICHLA, p. 80.
c1. Tail much shorter than wing; middle rectrices reaching nearly to tip of tail…………………….MICROCICHLA, p. 88.
b. Tail rounded or square.
d1. Tail in both sexes largely chestnut *.
a2. Tail considerably longer than twice tarsus.
a3. Tail much rounded; sexes alike.. CHIMARRHORNIS, p. 89.
b3. Tail nearly square; sexes different…………………….RUTICILLA, p. 90.
b2. Tail about twice tarsus.
c3. Rictal bristles very long and strong…………………….RHYACORNIS, p. 97.
d3. Rictal bristles weak or obsolete…………………….CYANECULA, p. 99.
e1. Tail without any chestnut.
c2. First primary shorter than one-third of second.
e3. Difference between wing and tail less than tarsus…………………….DAULIAS, p. 100.
f3. Difference between wing and tail twice tarsus…………………….GRANDALA, p. 110.
d2. First primary longer than one-third of second.
g3. Tail equal to or shorter than wing,
a4. Outer tail-feathers falling short of tip of tail by a distance less than half length of middle toe.
a5. Bill straight and Thrush-like ; rictal bristles well developed. of. Tail about twice tarsus.
a6. Throat of male brilliantly coloured…………………….CALLIOPE, p. 101.
b7. Throat of male coloured like remainder of lower parts…………………….TARSIGER, p. 104.
b6. Tail considerably more than twice tarsus.
c7. Tail uniformly of one colour.
a8. Tips of tail-feathers mucronate…………………….IANTHIA, p. 105.
b8. Tips of tail-feathers rounded…………………….ADELURA, p. 108.
d7. Tail largely white…………………….NOTODELA, p. 111.
b5. Bill slender and curved; rectal bristles obsolete…………………….THAMNOBIA, p. 113.
b4. Outer tail-feathers falling short of tip of tail by a distance quite equal to length of middle toe.
c5. Tail of one colour…………………….CALLENE, p. 113.
d5. Tail black and white…………………….COPSYCHUS, p. 116.
b3. Tail much longer than wing…………………….CITTOCINCLA, p. 118.

* The only exception is in the female of Rhyacornis fuliginosus.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.2 1890.
Title in Book: 
Subfamily RUTICILLINAE
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1890
Page No: 
81
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
858

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