1140. Bombycilla garrula

(1140) Bombycilla garrula.

The Waxwing.

Lanius garrulus Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed. i, p. 95 (1758) (Sweden).

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description. - Adult male. Lores and a narrow pointed line, chin and throat black; line from under the gape white, changing to rufous on the cheeks ; forehead and anterior crown chestnut, changing to vinous grey-brown on the rest of the head, neck and nape, darker and browner on the back and scapulars and changing to ashy-grey on the rump and upper tail-coverts; tail grey at the base with black subapical patch and brilliant yellow tips; wing-coverts and innermost two or three secondaries like the back; greater secondaries black tipped with white ; primaries black, the second with a small white line at the tip of the outer web, increasing on each succeeding feather round the tip of both webs and becoming yellow on the inner primaries and much broader; secondaries, except the inner two or three, dark grey with white patches at the end of the outer webs and with the tips of the shafts prolonged into brilliant red fiat drops ; breast pinkish-brown becoming more grey on the posterior flanks and abdomen; under tail-coverts deep chestnut.

Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black, fleshy at the base ; legs and feet black.

Measurements. Total length about 180 to 190 mm. ; wing 112 to 120 mm.; tail 59 to 67 mm.; tarsus about 20 to 22 mm.; culmen about 10 to 11.5 mm.

Female similar to male but the yellow on the wing almost white; chin and throat sometimes less intensely black and, fide Wither by, the mantle more inclined to be greyish.

Young birds have the upper parts brown; the throat and lower parts pale dull brown with buff ill-defined striations on abdomen and flanks ; under tail-coverts pale chestnut-brown; wings and tail as in the adult female ; bill yellowish.

Distribution. Breeding in the Arctic regions of Eastern and Western hemispheres; in Winter South to Central Europe and Asia; in the extreme East farther South to South China. Magrath obtained a single fine male of the species in the cantonments, Bannu, N.W. Frontier and he and Whitehead also obtained it at Kohat in 1906 and 1907.

Nidification. The Waxwing breeds generally in swampy forests of conifers, occasionally in stunted birches. The foundation of the nest is of spruce-twigs, the remaining materials grass and lichens, lined with fine grass, down, feathers or reindeer hair. The eggs number four to six and in colour vary from ashy-grey to ashy-blue. The primary markings consist of black spots and specks, rather bold in character, distributed fairly numerously over the whole surface but more numerous towards the larger end; the secondary spots are of dark grey and lavender. The average size of one hundred eggs is 24.03 x 17.29 mm.: maxima 28.3 x 18.0 and 24.8 x 18.8 mm.; minima 21.1 x 16.3 and 25.0 x 15.7 mm.

The breeding-season is from the end of May to early July.

Habits. It is said to be a very silent bird, occasionally uttering a single plaintive note. It is very tame and confiding, especially in Winter, when it frequents orchards, gardens and the outskirts of towns and villages. It feeds on insects in Summer and on berries, especially juniper and mountain ash, in Winter. At this latter season it associates in flocks and its migrations extend far both South and West, but are very irregular.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.3 1926.
Title in Book: 
1140. Bombycilla garrula
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Bohemian Waxwing
Bombycilla garrulus
Vol. 3

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