The genus Siphia contains four Indian birds, one of which is the type of the genus, and the other three are closely allied species, which have been placed by various ornithologists in Muscicapa, Siphia, or Erythrosterna. I consider the four species now noticed to be absolutely congeneric both in structure and in style of Coloration. They have no close relationship with Muscicapa, in which the sexes are alike and the wing very lengthened, and I prefer to associate them together in the genus Siphia, which is equal to Erythrosterna but of older date.

In Siphia the sexes are differently coloured, the base of the tail in both sexes is white, the upper tail-coverts black, and the back brown or rufous. The bill is small, and the rictal bristles mode-rate ; the wing is of moderate length, but sharply pointed, and the first primary is shorter than half the second; the tail is square.

The male nestlings soon lose their spotted plumage, and assume the plumage of the adult female in September. It is not, however, till towards the end of the winter that they commence to put on the characteristic red colouring of the adult male, and consequently the mass of birds which visit India are in the garb of the female till near the time for their departure to summer-quarters.

Key to the Species.

a. Throat chestnut, not extending to the chin or breast………………….S. strophiata, p. 8.
b. Chin, throat, and breast chestnut; crown of different shade to back………………….S. parva p. 9.
c. Chin and throat chestnut, breast ashy; crown and back of the same shade………………….S. albicilla P. 10.
d. Chin, throat, breast, and upper abdomen chestnut, surrounded by a black band………………….S. hyperythra p. 10.
e. No chestnut on lower plumage………………….S. parva , S. albicilla, S. hyperytha et. juv.

The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.2 1890.
Title in Book: 
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Vol. 2
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