(557) Saxicoloides fulicata cambaiensis.
The Brown-backed Indian Robin.
Sylvia cambaiensis Lath., Ind. Orn., ii, p. 554 (1790) (Guzerat). Thamnobia cambaiensis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 114.
Vernacular names. Kalchuri (Hind.).
Description.— Adult male. Differs from the Black-backed Indian Robin in never acquiring the black back at the autumn moult. After this the upper parts become a dark sandy-brown or in some cases an almost rufescent-brown. In spring and summer abrasion of the lighter edges makes the general tint darker instead of paler as in T. f. fulicata.
When freshly moulted the black underparts are 'more or less fringed with paler, which soon wears off.
Colours of soft parts as in the last bird.
Measurements. Wing 69 to 78 mm.; tail 66 to 72 mm.; tarsus about 27 mm.; culmen about 12 to 14 mm.
Female. Similar to the female of the Black-backed Robin, but much paler and often very grey in general tint.
Measurements. Wing 70 to 75 mm.
Nestling like that of the Black-backed Robin but paler above and below. Above the bars are obsolete and below very faint.
Distribution. The whole of Northern India from Sind and the Punjab to the drier, less wooded portions of Eastern Bengal, Midnapore, Chota Nagpur, Western Behar; South to the Godaveri on the East and Ahmadnagar on the West.
Nidification. This differs in no way from that of the last bird.
It is equally confiding and fearless of man, but is also equally cautious in its movements and equally ready to desert nests and eggs. It selects similar sites to those beloved of the Southern form and builds a similar nest of grass and roots, lined with hair, grass, fur, or anything suitable, often a piece of cast snakeskin. It, however, lays more eggs, generally three or four, Oates says six, which are not distinguishable from those of T. f. fulicata.
Forty eggs average 22.5 x 15.1 mm.: maxima 23.0 x 15.7 mm.; minima 20.4 x 14.8 mm.
The principal breeding-months seem to be April, May and June.
Habits. Just the same as those of the preceding bird. It ascends the outer ranges of the Himalayas up to some 5,000 feet and is found all over the plains.