(1171) Motacilla lugubris alboides.
Hodgson's Pied Wagtail.
Motacilla alboides Hodgs., As. Res., xix, p. 191 (1836) (Nepal). Motacilla hodgsoni. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 291.
Vernacular names. Dhobin, Dhobini (Hind.).
Description. Forehead, anterior crown, lores, cheeks, a ring-round the eye and a patch behind white ; upper plumage, scapulars and lesser wing-coverts black ; tail black, the outermost part of feathers pure white and the next pair white with a brown edge to the basal half of the inner web; chin, throat and breast black ; remaining underparts pure white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; bill and feet black.
Measurements. Wing 87 to 96 mm.; tail 84 to 98 mm.; tarsus 23 to 24 mm.; culmen about 13 to 14 mm.
In Winter the black feathers of the mantle are fringed with grey and the chin and throat become white or marked with white.
The Young have the upper parts olive ashy-grey and the underparts are white with a small patch of black in the centre of the breast.
Distribution. Breeding in the Himalayas from Gilgit to Sikkim and South-West Tibet. In Winter is found throughout the plains and lower hills of Assam and the hilly regions of North and Central Burma to Tenasserim. West it is found not uncommonly in Bengal and Bihar and struggles into the Central Provinces. This bird and M. I. leucopsis meet in Tibet and apparently breed within a very short distance of one another. It may be that they will eventually have to be treated as full species.
Nidification. Hodgsoni Wagtail breeds throughout the Himalayas from about 6,000 feet up to 12,000 feet or higher during May, June and July, often having two broods in the year. The favourite site for the nest is undoubtedly some hole in among boulders or small islands in rivers but it also breeds in river-banks, in stone walls or under a stone on the ground. Occasionally it will build in a deserted hut or building and even more rarely in an inhabited one, but normally it is not a frequenter of human habitations for nesting purposes. The nest is like that of all. Whire Wagtails but in Kashmir is often made wholly of wool.
The eggs number four to six and are like those of M. a. alba but are more often of a brown or reddish tint. Eighty eggs average 21.3 x 15.5 mm.: maxima 22.5 x 16.0 and 22.6 x 16.5 mm.: minima 19.3 x 14.6 and 21.2 x 14.2 mm.
Habits. In Summer a frequenter of streams and rivers running through well-wooded and open country as well as forest. They seem to feed much on water-haunting insects as well as on actual water-insects, which latter they pursue through both shallow and deep water. At the same time they are not so aquatic in their ways as are the Grey and the Yellow Wagtails.