561. Siphia parva.
The European Red-breasted Flycatcher.
Muscicapa parva, Bechst. Naturg. Deutschl. iv, p. 505 (1795); Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 101. Erythrosterna parva (Bechst.), Blanf. J. A. S. B. xxxviii, pt. ii, p. 174 ; id. S. F. v, p. 484 ; Hume, J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. ii, p. 116; id. Cat. no. 323 bis; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 167.
Coloration. Male. When in fresh plumage, after the autumn moult, the forehead, lores, and cheeks are grey, speckled at times with blackish; a ring of white feathers round the eye; sides of the head bluish ashy; crown and nape ashy brown; remainder of the upper plumage fulvous-brown ; upper tail-coverts black; wing-coverts, secondaries, and tertiaries brown, edged with fulvous-brown ; primaries and primary-coverts edged more narrowly with the same; chin, throat, and breast bright chestnut; remainder of the lower plumage white, tinged with buff on the sides of the body; the two middle pairs of tail-feathers wholly black; the others with the basal two thirds more or less white.
Female. The whole upper plumage brown, tinged with fulvous, the crown being of the same colour as the back; wings and tail as in the male; upper tail-coverts black; feathers on the eyelids white; sides of the head rufous-brown; lores whitish; lower plumage dull white, suffused with pale fulvous-ashy on the breast and sides of the body.
The young are spotted on the upper plumage and breast with fulvous. After the autumn moult young males commence to assume some red on the breast, and they become fully adult by the spring.
Iris blackish brown; legs and feet black; bill brown above, brownish-flesh below (Butler).
Length about 5; tail 2.1; wing 2.6; tarsus .65; bill from gape .6.
Distribution. A winter visitor to a great portion of the Indian peninsula, being found to the east as far as the Bhutan Doars at the base of the Himalayas and Singbhoom in the plains, and to the south as far as Mysore and the Nilgiris.
This species is found in Central and South-eastern Europe during the summer. Its distribution out of India is very difficult to trace, as this Flycatcher has been confounded with the next by many ornithologists, Seebohm going so far as to unite S. parva, S. albicilla, and S. hyperythra into one species. I have seen no example of S. parva from any portion of the Himalayas *, and I doubt if it ever crosses those mountains, the specimens said to have been procured from Central Asia having probably found their way thither from the west. This species is found in India from October to April.
Habits, &c. This bird breeds in Europe, making a nest of moss lined with grass and hairs, either against the trunk of a tree or in a hollow of the trunk The eggs are pale green, marked with pinkish brown, and measure about .65 by .53.
* Stoliczka (J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 32), however, records Erythrosterna leucura from Kotgarh. The species he obtained may have been S. parva or more likely S. hyperythra.