190. Larvivora cyanea.
The Siberian Blue Chat.
Motacilla cyane, Tall. Rets. Russ. Reichs, iii, p. 697 (1776). Larvivora gracilis, Swinh. Ibis, 1861, p. 262. Brachypteryx vel Callene, sp., Beavan, Ibis, 1870, p. 321; Blyth, Birds Burin, p. 101. Larvivora cyane (Fall.), Wald. in Blyth's Birds Burm. p. 101; Hume Dav. S. F. vi, pp. 335, 516; Hume, Cat. no. 507 bis; Bingham, S. F. ix, p. 185 ; Oates, S. F. x, p. 213; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 198. Erithacus cyaneus (Pall.), Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 303; Oates, B. B. i, p. 13.
Coloration. Male. The base of the bill, the lores, and a line under the cheeks black ; cheeks, ear-coverts, and the whole upper plumage blue; wings and tail brown, washed with blue on the outer webs; the whole lower plumage pure white, the flanks washed with brown.
Female. The whole, upper plumage and the lesser upper wing-coverts olive-brown, tinged with russet on the upper tail-coverts ; greater coverts and quills brown, suffused with rufous on the outer webs, the former also distinctly tipped with rufous; tail brown, suffused with russet; forehead, lores, and sides of the head rufous, mottled with brown; middle of chin and throat, the abdomen, and under tail-coverts pure white ; sides of the chin and the throat and the whole breast pale fulvous, each feather margined with brown, causing a mottled appearance; sides of the body plain fulvous.
The young are coloured like the female. Young males assume a little blue on the back and upper tail-coverts at an early age.
Legs, feet, and claws fleshy white ; upper mandible in the male dark, in the female pale horny brown ; lower mandible fleshy white or pale brown ; gape fleshy white ; (one male had the upper mandible horny black;) irides deep brown (Davison).
Length 5.6 ; tail 1.8 ; wing 2.8 ; tarsus 1.1 ; bill from gape .7.
Distribution. Has been procured in Lower Pegu by myself and in various localities in Tenasserim by Davison and Bingham. Hume obtained this bird in Manipur at the end of April. In the Pinwill Collection in the British Museum there is a specimen which is said to have been procured in the N.W. Himalayas near Simla. I know of no other instance of the occurrence of the present species in India proper; but Seebohm asserts that it winters in North India, a somewhat sweeping statement which requires confirmation.
I am by no means certain that this bird is more than a partial migrant in Burma. I procured the only specimen I ever met with in Burma on the 21st May, and the fact that specimens were collected by Davison and Bingham only in the winter months goes for little when it is remembered that the collection of birds is suspended in Burma in great measure in the wet season or summer months, owing to the heavy rainfall and the impenetrability of the jungle at that period of the year.
This species has a wide range, being found in Eastern Asia from Siberia to Borneo.
Habits, &c. This Blue Chat keeps entirely to the ground in dense vegetation, and occurs solitarily or in pairs.