(676) Alseonax ruficaudus.
The Rufous-tailed Flycatcher.
Muscicapa ruficauda Swains., Nat. Lib., x, p. 251 (1838) (India, restricted to Kashmir). Alseonax ruficaudus. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 36.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Whole upper plumage, sides of neck and wing-coverts dull olive-brown ; greater coverts, primary coverts and wine-quills dark brown edged with rufescent olive-yellow: tail-coverts and tail chestnut, browner at the end; lores and a ring round the eye white; ear-coverts ashy-brown with pale shaft-stripes ; below pale ashy-brown ; almost white on vent, centre of abdomen and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; upper mandible pale brown, lower mandible fleshy ; legs and feet purplish brown.
Measurements. Total length about 130 mm.; wing 72 to 81 mm.; tail 58 to 64 mm.; tarsus about 15 mm.; culmen 11 to 12 mm.
Young. Brown above spotted with fulvous, more streaky on the head; below pale ashy-brown mottled with dark brown. The feathers of the back hare dark margins.
Distribution. N. W. Himalayas from Baluchistan, Afghanistan and Gilgit to the Simla Hills and Garhwal. In Winter it wanders far and is found all over North-West and Western India to Travancore. To the East it has been recorded from Raipur, and I twice obtained specimens of this species, both males, in the North Cachar Hills.
Nidification. The Rufous-tailed Flycatcher breeds very commonly between 7.000 and 10,000 ft. in Kashmir during the end of May and June, making a compact, well-built, cup-shaped nest of moss and lichen, lined with hair or feathers, or with both, placed on a branch of a pine or other tree some five to fifteen feet from the ground. The eggs number three or four and in colour are a very pale sea-green or olive-green profusely freckled all over with reddish ; many eggs appear to be a uniform reddish olive or olive-green but in some the freckles form a cap at the larger end. Forty eggs average 17.2 x 12.8 mm.: maxima 19.1 X 13.5 and 18.0 x 13.6 mm.; minima 15.6 x 12.9 and 15.7 x 12.1 mm.
Habits. This is a shy retiring Flycatcher, keeping almost entirely to forested country. It seems to have no song worthy of the name, its principal note being a call-note of a single syllable followed by a low vibratory sound. It is very restless and active and keeps rather high up in the trees when feeding, making its sallies from a branch at some height and seldom, if ever, descending to the ground. According to Mr. Osmaston, it has a Chat-like habit of flicking its wings and bobbing forward.