(631) Muscicapa striata neumanni.
The Eastern Spotted Flycatcher.
Muscicapa grisola neumanni Poche, Orn. Monatsb., p. 26 (1904) (Siberia).
Muscicapa grisola. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 4.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper parts greyish brown, the forehead, crown, and nape with brownish-black central streaks and the rump and upper tail-coverts more fulvous; tail brown edged with pale rufescent; wing-feathers brown, the primaries narrowly, the coverts and secondaries broadly edged with pale fulvous or white; lores greyish white ; a buffy-white ring round the eye ; ear-coverts pale brown; sides of head and neck grey faintly streaked with brown and with a brown moustachial streak ; remainder of lower plumage white, sometimes buffish on the flanks and streaked with brown on the breast and flanks ; under wing-coverts and axillaries rich cream.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; bill blackish brown, fleshy on the basal half of the lower mandible ; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 150 mm.; wing 85 to 91mm.; tail 63 to 70 mm.; tarsus about 15 to 17 mm.; culmen about 15 to 17 mm.
Young have the upper plumage lighter and more fulvous with dark brown edges to the feathers; wing-feathers broadly edged and tipped with buff and lower plumage much marked with dark brown.
Distribution. Eastern Siberia, Turkestan, to Afghanistan and Baluchistan and in India, Sind, Rajputana, N. W. Frontier Province, and Khatiawar. The Persian breeding-bird probably also belongs to this form, though the skins I have received with eggs are too battered to allow of certain diagnosis. It has also been procured in Palestine, Arabia, South Persia, and South Mesopotamia, whence there are specimens in the British Museum. The Palestine breeding-birds are possibly of this race.
Nidification. Scully found this bird breeding in the pine-forests in Gilgit, Wardlaw Ramsay took two nests in Afghanistan, Whitehead in Chitral, and more recently it has been taken near Sheraz in Persia. The breeding-season seems to be May and June and the nest is just like that of its European cousin, a cup of roots, grass, moss, shreds of bark, etc., lined with roots, grass, and feathers, placed either on a branch next the trunk or in a crevice or hole in a tree or a building. The eggs are four or five in number and vary from a very pale sea-green, rather profusely marked with light reddish brown, to a pale stone or cream colour, the whole surface of which is nearly covered with blotches and freckles of light red. Forty-eight eggs average 18.3 x 14.2 mm. and the extremes are : maxima 21.0 X 14.2 and 19.1 x 15.0 mm.; minima 16.0 x 15.0 and 17.9 x 12.9 mm.
Habits. Practically nothing on record, but, according to Scully, it is a bird of the wilds and not a domestic, village-haunting bird like the European form. In Persia, however, when breeding, it appears to frequent the vicinity of human habitations, orchards and gardens. The South Palestine breeding-bird is also found frequenting the orange groves and orchards round towns and villages and seems as tame a bird as the European one. It is only a very rare straggler to India in winter.