(1182) Motacilla citreola calcarata.
Hodgson's Yellow-beaded Wagtail.
Budytes calcaratus Hodgs., As. Res., xix, p. 198 (1836) (Nepal). Motacilla citreoloides. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 299.
Vernacular names. Pani-ka-pilkya Hind.); Ane-kegah, Ani-cheptu (Tibet) ; Si-chi-pi-chi (Lhasa).
Description, Similar to M. c. citreola but in Summer the whole back, scapulars, rump and upper tail-coverts become deep black.
Colours of soft parts as in the preceding bird.
Measurements. Wing 76 to 85 mm.; tail 69 to 76 mm.; tarsus 25 to 26 mm.; culmen 13 to 15 mm.
Birds in Winter plumage and young birds can hardly be distinguished from the last race but are generally decidedly darker above, whilst adult birds nearly always have some black on the back and scapulars.
Distribution. Breeds in Kashmir and Central Asia from Afghanistan and Persia to Tibet, In Winter it is found as far South as Cutch and throughout Northern India to extreme East Assam and Burma South to Pegu and Northern Tenasserim.
Nidification. Hodgson's Yellow-headed Wagtail breeds from 6,000 to 14,000 feet throughout the Himalayas. In Kashmir it breeds in May and June, in Ladakh and Tibet in June and July -and in these two months also Haringtoti and Whitehead found great numbers breeding in the Kurrarn and Khagan Valleys between 8,000 and 12,000 feet. It does not appear to have two broods in the year. The nest is made of grass, roots, plant-stems, moss and often a little wool and hair, very compactly put together and lined with a felt-like mass of wool, hair and feathers. It seems always to be built on marshy ground, often in stamps, but occasionally may be found under bushes or in tufts of shortish grass in meadow-lands near streams. It is invariably very well concealed and the bird sits until almost trodden on once the eggs are being incubated.
The eggs, which number four or five, rarely three or six, are like those of M. c. cit -eola, perhaps darker as a rule and better spotted and nearly always with one or more irregular streaky lines at the larger end. Eighty eggs average 20.7 x 15.0 mm.: maxima 22.2 x 15.4 and 20.6 x 16.0 mm.; minima 18.5 x 14.5 and 30.5 x 14.0 mm.
Habits. Hodgson's Yellow-headed Wagtail is the most aquatic of all the Wagtails and keeps especially to large swamps, marshes and the reedy margins of large rivers. Ticehurst comments on this in regard to the Sind birds and other authors have frequently .remarked the same about the Kashmir birds. Even in breeding this Wagtail will often be found building its nest well out in the centre of swamps on small islands or in shallow reed-beds. It is as active, sprightly a little bird as any of its kind, always on the move and with the same energetic, constant little jerk of the tail. Its food consists largely of tiny water-shells and insects but it also sometimes follows cattle in wet pastures and feeds on the grasshoppers, etc which they disturb.