512. Artamus fuscus.
The Ashy Swallow-Shrike.
Artamus fuscus, Vieill. N. Diet. d'Hist. Nat. xvii, p. 297 (1817); Myth, Cat. p. 199; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 161; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 441; Hume, N. & E. p. 194; Sharpe in Rowley's Om. Misc. iii, p. 191; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 666 ; Hume, Cat. no. 287; Oates, B. B. i, p. 396; Davison, S. F. x, p. 368; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 157; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 103; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i. p. 350; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 11*.
Tari ababil, Hind.; Tal-chatak, Beng.; Tati-pittak, Tel.; Murasing, of Mussulmans in Beng.; Silliangchi-pho, Lepch.
Coloration. Lores black; head and neck all round deep grey; back, scapulars, rump, and the shorter upper tail-coverts brown with a vinaceous tinge; longer tail-coverts white; tail dark grey, tipped with whitish; wings and coverts deep grey, darker at the tips, and all the quills with excessively fine but distinct margins of white near the tips and on portions of the inner webs; lower plumage from the throat downwards pale purplish brown; lower tail-coverts whitish, finely barred with ashy.
The young bird is barred with fulvous above, the white margins to the quills are broader, and the wing-coverts are tipped with rufous.
Bill clear pale blue, the tip and the anterior half of the margins brownish; iris dark brown ; eyelids plumbeous ; legs slate-colour; claws dark horn; mouth black in some, in others yellow, probably varying according to season.
Length 7.3; tail 2.5; wing 5.2; tarsus .65; bill from gape .95.
Distribution. More or less abundant throughout the Empire, east of a line drawn approximately from Godra in the Panch Mahals to Naini Tal in Kumaun, ascending the Himalayas up to 5000 feet in the summer months, and resident in the plains. The limit of this species in Southern Burma appears to be the latitude of Amherst. It is found in Ceylon, but not in the Andamans nor Nicobars. It extends into Siam and China.
Habits, &c. Breeds from March to July, constructing a flimsy nest of grass and roots in holes of trees, or on the surface of large horizontal branches or on the summit of lofty stumps. The eggs, usually three in number, are white marked with brownish rusty, and measure about .94 by .68.
* Mr. Sharpe has kindly allowed me to see the proof-sheets of the 13th vol. of the ' Catalogue,' about to be published.