(1135) Emberiza rutila.
The Chestnut Bunting
Emberiza rutila Pall. Reise Russ. Reich., iii, p. 698 (1776) (Mongolia) ; Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 263.
Vernacular names. Lali gandam (Hind.).
Description. - Male. Whole head, upper plumage, wing-coverts, chin, throat and breast deep chestnut; greater coverts brown tipped with chestnut; tail, primary-coverts and quills dark brown edged very narrowly with ashy-ochre, inner secondaries mostly chestnut on the outer web ; flanks olive-green streaked with yellow ; remainder of lower plumage bright yellow ; axillaries and under wing-coverts olive-grey tipped with yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown; bill above dark horny-brown, lower mandible and gape yellowish-horny ; legs and feet pale yellowish-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 150 mm.; wing 74 to 77 mm.; tail 56 to 59 mm.; tarsus 19 to 20 mm.; culmen 10 to 11 mm.
After the Autumn moult the chestnut feathers are edged with ashy-yellow.
Female. Above ashy olive-brown boldly streaked with black; rump and upper tail-coverts chestnut; longer upper tail-coverts brown edged with ashy, tail brown edged with ashy-olive ; wing-feathers dark brown edged with fulvous; a very indistinct supercilium. cheeks, chin and throat mottled fulvous, white and brown; remainder of lower plumage oily-yellow, the flanks streaked with olive-green and the breast sometimes streaked with brown or with a brownish tinge.
Young males are like the females but some show traces of the chestnut on the head and are a brighter yellow below.
The Nestling is brown above and yellowish below, boldly streaked everywhere with dark brown.
Distribution. Breeding in East Siberia and North China; Wintering in South China, Indo-Chinese countries, Burma as far South as the Tennasserim District, Shan States, Chin Hills, Assam, Manipur, Bhutan Duars and Sikkim.
Nidification. According to Taczanowski this Bunting breeds in North China and Eastern Siberia in May and June, making the usual Bunting's nest on the ground and laying eggs similar in character to those of E. aureola but with a yellowish ground-colour instead of greenish. Eggs taken in Dauria measured 17.0 x 14.2 and 18.3 x 13.7 mm.
Habits. Similar to those of the Yellow-breasted Bunting. According to Pere David it is a favourite cage-bird in China and has a sweet well-sustained song in the breeding-season.