831. Motacilla maderaspatensis.
The Large Pied Wagtail.
Motacilla maderaspatensis, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i, p. 961 (1788) ; Hume, Cat. no. 589; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 607; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. x, p. 490; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 234; Oates, in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 202. Motacilla maderaspatana, Briss. apud Blyth, Cat. p. 137 ; Horsf. M. Cat. i, p. 347 ; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 217; Hume, N. & E. p. 377.
The Pied Wagtail, Jerd.; Mamula, Bhuin Mamula, Khanjan, Hind. ; Sakala sarela-gadu, Tel.
Coloration. Male. A broad supercilium from the nostril to the end of the ear-coverts, the whole head, neck, upper plumage, and lesser and median wing-coverts black ; greater wing-coverts almost entirely white; quills black, edged with white, the edging on some of the secondaries extending to half the outer web; the middle four pairs of tail-feathers black, narrowly margined with white, the other two pairs white, with a small portion of the inner web black ; breast and lower plumage white, the sides of the breast and body infuscated.
Female. Appears to resemble the male, but the upper plumage is more or less tinged with grey.
I cannot discover that there is any seasonal change of plumage in this species.
The young bird has the same pattern of colour as the adult, but the black is everywhere replaced by greyish brown, the supercilium in front of the eye is not indicated, and the white parts of the plumage are tinged with fulvous. In the first spring the change to adult plumage first takes place by the assumption of some black feathers on the head, and the full plumage is entirely assumed at the succeeding autumn moult. Some males retain a few white feathers on the chin and throat to a late period.
Iris dark brown ; legs, feet, and bill black (Butler).
Length about 9 ; tail 4.3; wing 3.9 ; tarsus 1; bill from gape .8 ; the female is considerably smaller than the male, of which the above are average dimensions.
Distribution. A permanent resident throughout India, from Kashmir and Sind on the west to Sikhim and Western Bengal on the east, and from the lower ranges of the Himalayas down to Ceylon.
Habits, &c. Breeds throughout the plains of India, and also in the Himalayas up to 3000 feet, as well as in the hills of Southern India, up to 7000 or 8000 feet, constructing a nest of grass and various other materials in holes of banks, under stones, amongst the timbers of bridges, on roofs, and in other similar localities. The nest is merely a pad, or sometimes cup-shaped. The eggs, four in number, are dull white or pale greenish marked with brown of various shades, and measure about .9 by .66.