(638) Siphia parva parva.
The European Red-breasted Flycatcher.
Muscicapa parva Bechst., Getrue Abbild., (2) p. 26 (1793) (East Holland).
Siphia parva. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. O.
Vernacular names. Turra (Hindi).
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, crown and nape ashy-grey, becoming paler on the latter and changing to fulvous-brown on the back, scapulars and wing-coverts ; upper tail-coverts and tail black, the lateral tail-feathers with the basal two-thirds white; wing-quills brown, the primaries narrowly, the secondaries increasingly widely edged with fulvous-brown; a ring of white feathers round the eye; lores mixed white and slate; a patch under the eye-ring almost black; sides of head and neck bluish ashy; chin, throat and breast bright chestnut; remainder of lower plumage white, tinged with grey and buff on the flanks.
Colours of soft parts. Iris deep bright brown; bill dark horny above, "fleshy-brown below and at the base, black in the breeding-season ; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 125 mm.; wing 64 to 69 mm.; tail 48 to 50 mm.; tarsus 17 to 18 mm.; culmen about 9 mm.
Female. Whole upper plumage fulvous-brown; sides of head the same, paling to almost white on the chin and throat; breast fulvous-white ; otherwise as in the male.
The Nestling is spotted on the upper plumage with fulvous and mottled on the breast; the wing-coverts are conspicuously tipped with bright dark fulvous.
The young male is like the female, but assumes more chestnut on the chin and throat at the Autumn moult, even whilst still retaining the fulvous edgings to the wing-feathers. The fully adult plumage is attained at the second moult.
Distribution. Breeding from North-East and Central Europe to "West Russian Siberia, and wandering into India in Winter as far South as Malabar, Travancore, and the Nilgiris and as far East as Behar and Singbhurn in Bengal. Many of the young birds and females of this and the next race are indistinguishable, so that some of the records from West Bengal, Behar, etc. may well be that of either subspecies.
Nidification. This little Flycatcher breeds in Europe during May and early June, making a cup, or half-cup shaped nest of moss, roots and lichen, lined thickly with grass or hair, which is placed either against a tree-trunk or a stone wall, or m some natural hollow in a stump. The eggs number three to five and the ground-colour varies from pale sea-green to a pale pink-stone, more or less profusely covered with pinkish brown. Fifty-two eggs average 16.7 X 12.7 mm.: maxima 17.6 X 13.2 and 17.3 X 13.4 mm.; minima 15.8 X 12.0 mm.
Habits. A quiet but active little bird, very crepuscular in its habits and often it. maybe seen making little sallies from its perch when the dusk is fast settling down. It has a sweet little song, though it is but seldom heard, its most usual note being the soft low chur-r-r common to all the genus. It is found both in the wilder parts of the country and in the immediate vicinity of houses and villages. In India it does not usually arrive until late October, leaving again in April or the first few days of May.