Emberiza leucocephala, Gmel. N. Com. Ac. Sc. Imp. Petr. xv. p. 480, tab. 23, fig. 3 (1770) ; Dresser, iv. p. 217, pl. 217 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 329 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xii. p. 549 ; Oates, F. Brit. Ind. Birds, ii. p. 254 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 590, E. pithy- ornis, Pall. Reis. Russ. Reichs, ii. Anhang. p. 710 (1773) ; Nauru, iv. p. 276, Taf. 104, fig. 3 ; Gould, B. of E. iii. pl. 180.
Fichtenammer, German ; Strenatka-beloshapotchnaya, Russ.
Male ad. (Siberia). Crown, nape, and a streak below the eye white ; forehead, sides of the crown and a few streaks on the hind-crown, blackish ; lores, sides of the head and neck and entire upper throat rich chestnut-red ; upper parts pale chestnut, on the back and wing-coverts marked with blackish ; wings and tail dark brown, with warm buff external margins, the two outer rectrices largely white ; under parts white, on the breast and flanks blurred with pale chestnut ; beak horn-brown, paler below ; legs flesh coloured ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.3, wing 3.65, tail 3.2, tarsus 0.75 inch. The female lacks all chestnut on the head and throat, these being greyish with dark streaks, the throat whiter, and the breast and flanks are blurred and streaked with brown.
Hab. Siberia from the Ural to the Amoor, Manchuria ; Mongolia ; wintering in North China, the Himalayas down to Garhwal, Gilgit, Kashmir, and Afghanistan. A rare straggler to Europe, where it has been obtained in Turkey, Austria. Hungary, Italy, South France, and once on Heligoland.
Frequents the borders of the forests, old conifer woods, and bush-covered plains and fields, and is said to be not shy. In the autumn they collect in large flocks, and range about the open country and in the cornfields in search of food. The call-note is like that of E. citrinella, but the song is said to be unlike that of a Bunting, reminding one more of that of Erithacus rubecula, and is prolonged and melancholy, but not loud. Nidification commences in May, and the nest, which is placed on the ground under a bush or tussock, is neatly con¬structed of grass-bents and plant-stems, lined with hair. The eggs, 4 to 6 in number, are in character like those of E. citrin¬ella, and are dull white, pale bluish white, or rose-white, with faint violet-grey shell-markings and marblings, and blackish brown surface-lines or spots, and in size average about 0.77 by 0.60.
518. Emberiza leucocephala