(83) AEgithaliscus leucogenys.
THE WHITE-CHEEKED TIT.
Orites leucogenys Moore, P. Z. S., xxii, p. 139 (1855) (Afghanistan). AEgithaliscus leucogenys. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 51.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Forehead, crown and nape pale reddish brown; lores, a very broad band through the eye to the nape, chin and throat black; cheeks and ear-coverts white; upper plumage, a band over the ear-coverts, wing-coverts and the edges of the wing-feathers olive-grey; winglet and primary-coverts dark brown; tail brown, the outermost feather with the outer web white and the inner tipped with white, the next feather obliquely, and the one next to this again very narrowly tipped with white; lower plumage reddish fawn, the portion immediately next the black throat deep rusty red.
Colours of soft parts. Bill black; iris pale creamy or white; feet pale orange, claws dusky or brown (Scully).
Measurements. Total length about 130 mm.; tail about 55 mm.; wing about 55 mm.; tarsus about 17 mm.; culmen about 8 mm.
The young have the black chin and throat of the adult faintly indicated only and the colours duller.
Distribution. Garhwal, Simla Hills, into Kashmir and thence into Afghanistan.
Nidification. Whitehead (Ibis, Jan. 1909) describes the nesting of this species in the Kurram Valley, where it breeds freely in the ilex scrub between 4,000 and 8,000 feet. The nest is like that of the British Long-tailed Tic but smaller and less neat. It is made of moss and cobwebs externally, then a little green grass and finally a thick lining of feathers. The eggs seem to number from five to eight and to be very like those of the Red-headed Tit and measure 14.7x9.5 mm.
They breed from the end of March to early May.
Habits. In summer the White-cheeked Tit is found between 5,000 or 6,000 and 12,000 feet, but in winter descends much lower and down to some 2,000 feet. Whitehead obtained a specimen, presumably after it had bred, at Safed Koh at 1,800 feet on the 20th July.
It goes about in parties of eight or nine in scrub-jungle, continually uttering its call-note, which Whitehead syllabifies as " prit-t-t." It is sometimes found in company with Grey Tits.