673. Merula castanea.
The Grey-headed Ouzel.
Merula castanea, Gould, P. Z. S. 1835, p. 185; Blyth, Cat. p. 162; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 197; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 526; Cock & Marshall, 8. F. i, p. 354; Godw.-Aust. J. A. 8. B. xxxix, pt. ii, p. 268; Hume, N. & E. p. 235 ; id. Cat. no. 363; Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 259 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 93.
Lal kastura, Hind,
Coloration. Male. 1'orehead, crown, nape, and sides of the head dark grey; chin, throat, and neck all round pale greyish white; upper back dark chestnut; lower back, scapulars, rump, and upper tail-coverts bright chestnut; wings and tail black; lower plumage chestnut, the middle of the abdomen whitish; under tail-coverts black, with mesial white streaks and fulvous margins near the tip of the feathers; axillaries and under wing-coverts chestnut-brown.
Female. Resembles the male in general pattern of colour, but the head and neck are a darker grey, the chestnut of the upper and lower parts is paler, and the wings and tail are brown; the under tail-coverts are brown instead of black, but marked in the same manner as in the male.
Bill, orbits, and legs yellow; iris brown (Jerdon); legs dull yellow, iris dark brown (Godw.-Aust.).
Length about 11; tail 4.3; wing 5.3; tarsus 1.3; bill from gape 1.2.
This species and M. albicincta were at one time thought to be the same, but no one now doubts their distinctness from each other.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Murree to Sikhim. Godwin-Austen procured this species in the Tura range, Garo hills. Griffith appears to have obtained it in Assam. This Ouzel, according to Stoliczka (J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 35), comes to Kotgarh in the winter, and probably lives during the summer months in Central Asia and Eastern Tibet. This distribution has not, however, been confirmed, and the nest of this species has been found at Kotgarh and Murree, showing that some birds at least remain in the Himalayas during the summer and at comparatively low levels.
Habits, &c. Associates in flocks (during the winter?) according to Hutton. This species appears to construct its nest in banks, making it of moss and fern-leaves with a little earth, and lining it with grass. The eggs are pale green marked with brownish red and pinkish purple, and measure about 1.2 by .85.