(1167) Motacilla alba persica.
The Persian- White Wagtail.
Motacilla personata persica Blanf., Eastern Persia, ii, p. 232 (Persian Highlands).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Intermediate between -M. a. dukhunensis and M. a. personata, the adults always having a trace of white on the ear-coverts but the chin and throat wholly black. This difference appears to be quite constant in their breeding area.
Colours of soft parts as in the Indian White Wagtail.
Measurements. Wing 87 to 95 mm.; culmen 12 to 13 mm.
Distribution. Breeding in the Persian Plateau and mountains, Kennan, Sheraz, Isfahan etc. Some Indian specimens from North-West India seem referable to this race, but young and non-breeding birds are very difficult to differentiate from M. a. personata or M. a. dukhunensis.
Nidification. The Persian White Wagtail breeds in April, May and June, sometimes having second broods as late as July. Tbe nests are bulky affairs of grass, roots, leaves etc., well lined with goats' hair, wool or fur; outwardly they conform in shape to the hole m which they are placed. A favourite site is a hole in an old ruin, deserted building or broken-down wall but, round about Kerman, Currie found them breeding in subterranean water-courses. Holes in the brick or stone lining of wells are often used for nesting purposes. A tine series of eggs collected by Currie and Petherick in Persia could not be distinguished from those of M. a. alba but appears darker and more reddish. Fifty eggs average 20.3 x 15.1 mm.: maxima 21.7 x 15.8 and 20.9 x 16.3 mm.; minima 18.9 X 15.5 and 19.8 x 15.0 mm.
Habits. Those of the species. Like all the White Wagtails they are extremely tame little birds and are as much at home in gardens as they are running about at the edges of streams and water-courses. Like the Common Wagtail they are said sometimes to submerge their whole bodies under water when hunting for water insects etc.