(1120) Emberiza fucata fucata.
The Grey-headed Bunting.
Emberiza fucata Pall., Reise Buss. Reich., iii, p. 698 (1776) (Mona and Ingoda) ; Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 252 (part).
Vernacular names. Putthur-chirta (Hind.).
Description. - Male. Lores dull yellowish; crown to nape ashy-grey, each feather with a broad black central streak; hind neck more grey and with fewer streaks ; back and scapulars fulvous, with broad black central streaks bordered with chestnut; rump dull chestnut with obsolete streaks; upper tail-coverts fulvous-rufous with broad dull black centres; tail brown edged with fulvous, the outermost pair largely white on the inner, nearly entirely so on the outer web, penultimate pair with a wedge-shaped patch of white at the tip of the inner web; ear-coverts chestnut; chin and throat fulvous-white, with a line of black streaks on either side, divided from the ear-coverts by another streak of white ; upper breast fulvous-white, boldly streaked with black ; lower breast generally showing a certain amount of rufous as a band across ; remainder of lower parts rufous-white, more strongly tinged with rufous-chestnut on the flanks, where there are also streaks of dark brown.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown or hazel-brown; bill fleshy-brown, darker on the culmen and paler below ; legs and feet fleshy-yellow or flashy-pink.
Measurements. Total length about 150 mm.; wing 71 to 76 mm.; tail 62 to 65 mm.; tarsus about 21 to 22 mm.; culmen about 10 to 11 mm.
After the Autumn moult the feathers of the crown have fulvous edges which are soon lost by abrasion and the chestnut and black in the lower plumage is also more concealed by the fresh pale edgings.
Female. Similar to the male but paler and duller.
Distribution. Breeding in South-East Siberia, Manchuria, Corea, Japan and Northern China. In "Winter to South China, the Indo-Chinese countries Burma, Assam and possibly Bengal and Bhutan. The birds from these last two places, as also some winter specimens from Nepal, are exactly like fucata below but are rather more richly coloured above; they should, I think, be retained under this name.
Nidification. This Bunting breeds in great numbers from Northern China to Japan. La Touche took many nests in Chinkiang which he describes as fragile cups of grass-stems, grass-blades, roots, etc. lined with fine grasses and roots and a little hair. They are placed on the ground and very well concealed. The eggs vary greatly in coloration. The groundcolour is generally a pale yellowish-stone but varies from this to creamy-white or rather dull reddish-pink. Most eggs are profusely stippled or speckled all over with pale reddish-grey, reddish-brown either pale or warm, or purple-brown. Other eggs have these specklings more numerous at the larger end and sparse elsewhere ; in others the marks are larger and more blotchy and in a few the markings become scrawls, wavy lines or blotches in the typical Bunting fashion. In shape they are broad, obtuse ovals and the surface is glossless or with a very slight gloss only. One hundred eggs average 20.0 x 16.1 mm.: maxima 22.0 x 16.0 and 21.6 x 17.3 mm.; minima 18.0 x 16.0 and 20.0 x 14.5 mm. The breeding-season is in June, July and August and either four or five eggs are laid.
Habits. This, Bunting is said to frequent grass lowlands or grass- and bush-covered hills. They are migratory in the full sense of the word, leaving their breeding-haunts in October for the South of China and the Indo-Chinese countries an returning in April and May.