Erithacus rubecula (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 337 (1766) ; Hewitson, i. p. 98, pl. xxviii. ; (Naumann), ii. p. 397, Taf. 75, figs. 1, 2 ; Gould, B. of E., pl. 98 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iii. pl. 48 ; Newton, i. p. 305 ; Dresser, i. p. 329, pl. 51 ; Seebohm, Cat. B. Br. Mus. v. p. 299 ; Saunders, p. 37 ; Lilford, iii. p. 6, pl. 3.
Rouge-gorge, French ; Pisco de peito-ruivo, Portug. ; Petirojo, Span. ; Pettirosso, Ital. ; Rothkehlchen, German ; Roodborstje, Dutch ; Rodkjaelk, Dan. ; Rodstrubesanger, Norweg. ; Rodhake-sangaren, Swed. ; Kultarintakerttu, Finn. ; Malinovka, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Upper parts olivaceous brown ; wings and tail dark brown margined with olive ; chin, throat, breast, and forehead rich orange red bordered with slate-blue ; rest of the under parts white, the flanks and vent washed with olive brown ; bill blackish brown, lighter at the base ; legs brown ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.55, wing 2.9, tail 2.5, tarsus 1.0 inch. The female differs from the male only in being somewhat duller in tinge, but the young are sandy brown above, spotted with dark brown and dirty white below, marked with dark brown and washed with yellowish brown on the breast and flanks.
Hab. Europe from the Azores and Canaries to Asia Minor, Turkestan, and Persia, and from the Arctic circle to North Africa, being resident in most of its range.
Tame and familiar to a degree the Redbreast is one of our best known species.
It frequents groves, gardens, and is especially fond of the vicinity of man. Its sweet song may be heard not only during the breeding season but also after the autumn moult, through¬out the winter during fine weather. It places its nest in a bank, amongst ivy, in holes of trees, on a shelf in an outhouse, or in an inhabited house, in an old shoe or an old pot, or in almost any odd place ; and deposits from March to May 5 to 8 eggs pale reddish white, spotted and blotched with red, some-times nearly pure white, measuring 0.76 by 0.60. Individuals vary greatly in intensity of colour, and examples having the red breast very dark, from Teneriffe, have been separated specifically (Erithacus superbus Koenig), but in my opinion without sufficient reason, as I have examined central European examples as richly coloured.
95. Erithacus rubecula