(607) Monticola solitaria transcaspica.
Hartert's Blue Rock-Thrush.
Monticola solitaria transcaspica Hartert, Bull. B. O.C., xxiii, p. 43 (1909) (Askabad). Petrophila cyanus. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 146 (part.).
Vernacular names. Shama (Hind, in S.) ; Pandu (Mahr.).
Description.— Adult male. Whole plumage bright blue; the fore-crown, cheeks, chin and throat brightest; tail dark brown, the feathers edged with bluish; lesser wing-coverts bluish; remaining coverts and quills brown, the greater coverts with white tips.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to deep brown; bill black with a yellow gape; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 230 mm.; wing 116 to 122 mm.; tail 80 to 84 mm.; tarsus about 29 to 30 mm,; culmen 23 to 24 mm.
Female. Above grey-brown, the feathers, more especially of the head, with rather dark central marks ; the upper tail-coverts with distinct bars of blackish and obsolete bars on the rump; wings and tail light brown with paler edges and a white wing-bar formed by the tips of the greater coverts; below dull fulvous-white cross-barred with dark brown, more streaky on the chin, throat and neck. Some females have a certain amount of bluish tinge both above and below.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill dark horny-brown; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Wing 112 to 120 mm.
Nestling. Like the female but duller and darker, each feather above with a broad white tip and subterminal dark bar; the under parts from chin to vent closely barred with blackish brown.
Hartert's Blue Bock-Thrush differs from the European bird in its paler plumage.
Distribution. From Transcaspia through Persia to the Indo-Afghan and Baluchistan boundaries. It is common and resident on the Kurram and Khagan Hills.
Nidification. Col. H. H. Harington took a nest with three eggs on the 10th of June at about 8,000 feet on the Khagan ridge. It was built under an overhanging bank in a rocky hillside. All three eggs are pigmies unfortunately and the measurements are valueless.
Habits differ in no way from those of the common Indian form next described.