(1170) Motacilla alba ocularis.
The Streak-eyed Wagtail.
Motacilla ocularis Swinhoe. J bis, 1860, p. 55 (Amoy,; Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 289.
Vernacular names. Dhobin, Dhobini (Hind.).
Description. Sex for sex and according to age similar to the Indian White Wagtail but distinguished by a streak running through the eye from forehead to the black nape. In adults this streak is black and complete, in young birds browner and broken but traces are always present, especially in front of the eye ; the white on the wing-coverts and inner secondaries is greater in extent and in some old males the black of the head is produced further back into the hind neck.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; bill black, paler and more plumbeous at the base and on the lower mandible; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Wing 86 to 97 mm.: tail 87 to 100 mm.; tarsus 24 to 25 mm.: culmen 11 to 12 mm.
Distribution. Breeding in North-East Siberia and extreme North-West America; West to Dauria, Amurland, Eastern Mongolia and Manchuria. In Winter South to South China, Formosa, the Indo-Chinese countries, Burma, Assam and Eastern Bengal. It has been found as far East as Nepal but does not appear to extend far South in India, though it occurs in the extreme South of Burma.
Nidification. Breeds during May and June, sometimes having a second brood as late as August. Nest and eggs are just like those of the European Wagtail but the latter are smaller. Ten in my own collection measure only 19.2 x 14.7 mm.; one taken by Przevalski in the Koku Nur measured 21.2 x 15.6 mm.
Habits. This is the most common White Wagtail in Assam during the Winter months, arriving in early August and leaving again in the end of April. At this time it is just the same familiar bird as are the other races but when breeding it is said to keep more to forest, open country and meadow-land not in the vicinity of human habitations.