(515) Aenanthe xanthoprymna chrysopygia.
The Bed-tailed Chat.
Drymolaea chrysopygia De Filippi, Arch. Zool. Genova, ii, p. 381 (1863) (Demavend, Persia). Saxicola chrysopygia. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 79.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Forehead to back and scapulars pale grey-brown, more tinged with rufous or chestnut on lower back; rump chestnut ; upper tail-coverts very pale chestnut; tail bright chestnut, the middle pair of feathers black on the terminal halves, the lateral ones with a broad black subterminal band; wing-coverts brown edged with grey, very broadly so on the lesser coverts; quills brown edged with rufous-grey; supercilium dull greyish white; lores dark grey-brown; ear-coverts hair-brown ; chin and throat nearly white, remainder of lower parts pale vinaceous ashy, albescent on the centre of the abdomen, deeper on the breast and flanks and buffy on the vent and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris blackish brown; bill, legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 170 mm.; wing 89 to 97 mm.; tail 55 to 59 mm.; tarsus 26 to 27 mm.; culmen about 13 mm.
AEnanthe x. xanthoprymna has the head and the throat much darker blackish.
Distribution. Breeding in South-Turkestan, South and East Persia to Baluchistan. In winter in North-West India, West of the Jhelum River, Sind, Cutch, Northern Guzerat and Rajputana as far East as Jodhpur.
Nidification. According to Mr. A. J. Currie this Chat breeds freely in South Persia at 6,000 feet upwards, and he found it comparatively common both at Sheraz and at Kerman. It apparently nests twice, first in March and April and again in the end of May and June, as he found fully fledged young in May and took fresh eggs in June. The nest Mr. Currie describes as like that of AE. alboniger. He writes : " This Chat first fills the nest-hole to the required dimensions with small pebbles and then behind this rampart and supported by it is the true nest, composed of twigs and grass and lined with finer grass. The nest takes 5 or 6 days to build."
The eggs number five and are broad obtuse ovals ; pale sea-green or bluish white, either quite spotless or with a few faint brown specks about the larger end. They measure about 19.9-22.4x 16.2-16.9 mm.
Habits. The Red-tailed Chat frequents rocky gorges which run up into the higher hills and appears to be found between 5,000 and 9,000 feet in summer, descending to the foot-hills and adjacent plains in winter. In the Kurram and other valleys of the North-West Erontier it is found even higher and certainly ascends as high as 11,000 feet or over. It is said to be a quiet unobtrusive bird, with a feeble song of poor quality. Its alarm-note is a long-drawn single pipe.