558. Hemichelidon sibirica.
The Sooty Flycatcher.
Muscicapa sibirica, Gm. Syst. Nat. i, p. 930 (1788). Hemichelidon fuliginosa, Hodgs. P. Z. S. 1845, p. 32; Blyth, Cat. p. 175; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 137 ; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 458 ; Stoticzka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 28; Brooks, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 75 ; Hume Henders. Lah. to York. p. 184, pl. iv. Hemichelidon sibirica (67m.), Hume, N. E. p. 200; id. Cat. no. 296; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 120; Oates, B. B. i, p. 275; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 1.
Coloration. Upper plumage brown, the feathers of the bead with darker centres and those of the wings- more or less edged paler; tail plain brown; a ring of white feathers round the eye; lores mixed white and brown; sides of the head brown; chin, throat, breast, and sides of the body smoky brown, dashed with grey in places ; an indistinct white patch on the lower throat; abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts white, the last mixed with brown. After the autumn moult, the margins to the wing-feathers are broader and more rufous.
The young have the crown and nape streaked with fulvous white and the upper plumage spotted and streaked with fulvous ; the lesser wing-coverts are tipped, and the greater coverts and quills margined broadly, with fulvous ; the lower plumage is much whiter than in the adult.
Upper mandible dark brown, lower yellowish; iris brown ; legs brownish black.
Length about 4.5; tail 2; wing 2.8; tarsus .5; bill from gape .55.
Distribution. A permanent resident in the Himalayas, from Afghanistan and Kashmir to Sikhim, occurring as high as 13,000 feet in the summer. In the winter this species is found along the lower ranges of those mountains, and it has been observed at Shillong, Manipur, and generally throughout Pegu and Tenasserim, extending into the Malay peninsula. It is widely spread over China and Eastern Siberia in summer. This Flycatcher appears to be entirely absent from the plains of India.
Habits, &c. Breeds in Kashmir in June. A nest found by Major Cock was placed against the side of a tree-trunk. The eggs are pale green mottled with pale reddish, and measure about .65 by .46.