Hemichelidon Hodgson, P. 2. S., 1845, p. 32. Type, Muscicapa sibirica (Gmelin).
The genus Hemichelidon contains two species of Flycatchers which are permanent residents in the Himalayas, a considerable number descending to the lower ranges and plains in winter.
In Hemichelidon the bill viewed from above is almost an equilateral triangle, sharp-pointed, pinched in at the tip and very depressed; the rictal bristles are moderate; the wing is long, reaching nearly to the end of the tail, the first primary very minute and the second equal to the fifth; the tail is square. In this genus the sexes are alike and the plumage is brown or ferruginous.
It is unfortunate that both the names by which our Indian birds have hitherto been known have to be changed. The true H. sibirica of Gmelin is a larger and much greyer bird than any of the Indian forms and the name fuliginosa (Hodgson), by which the principal of these has hitherto been known, is twice preoccupied— by Sparrman, Mus. Carls., p. 147 (1787), and by Gmelin, S. N., i, p. 932 (1789). In the same way ferruginea is preoccupied by Muscicapa ferruginea Gmelin, p. 847.
Key to Species.
A. General colour of plumage some shade of
brown H. sibirica, p. 204.
B. General colour of plumage ferruginous……….H cinereiceps, p. 206.