(513) Aenanthe deserti atrogularis.
Saxicola atrogularis Blyth, J. A. S. B., xvi, p. 131 (1847) (Agra). Saxicola deserti. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 78.
Vernacular names. None recorded,
Description.— Male in summer. Frontal line and broad supercilium buffy-white, forehead to rump buff, more grey on the head, richer and brighter buff on lower back and scapulars ; rump paler and upper tail-coverts creamy fulvous-white ; tail black with white base; wings brownish black edged with white, the inner¬most secondaries with fulvous-white ; inner wing-coverts next the back so broadly edged with white as to form a large white wing-patch ; lores, cheeks, sides of head and neck, throat and upper breast black; remainder of lower plumage pale buff, brightest on the breast; axillaries and under wing-coverts black, tipped with white ; bases of inner webs of wing-quills white, varying in extent from mere narrow margins to nearly half the web.
In winter the black parts are fringed with white, the supercilium is less distinct and the back is .more dusky.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill, legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 170 mm.; wing 93 to 102 mm.; tail 55 to 63 mm.; tarsus 26 mm.; culmen 14 to 15 mm.
This form differs from typical AE. d. deserti in being darker and greyer above and more brown on the breast. It also has a much smaller bill, although it is a bigger bird.
Female. Upper parts like the male but greyer, wings and tail a lighter brown; ear-coverts rufous-brown; supercilium very in¬distinct ; below from chin to under tail-coverts whitish buff, the breast and flanks darker and brownish.
Young like the female, but both upper and lower parts very dull and fringed with greyish, giving a mottled appearance.
Distribution. Breeding in Western Central Asia, Kirghis Steppes, South Caucasus to East Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and N.E. Kashmir. A winter visitor to the plains of North-West India.
Nidification. Gould's Chat does not breed within the limits of the area dealt with in this work, but nests both in Baluchistan and the hills of Eastern Mesopotamia. The nests are similar to those of other Wheatears, and the eggs, which number four or five, vary from pale spotless blue to pale blue with a well-defined ring of small blotches of red at the larger end. Twenty-four eggs (7 Jourdain) average 19.6 x 15.4 mm.: maxima 20.6xl5.5 and 20.0 x 16.1 mm.; minima 19.0 x 15.0 and 19.5 x 14.7 mm.
Habits. According to Ticehurst this Chat is partial to the vicinity of scrub and cover, often settling on small bushes. This probably only refers to its winter resorts, for during the breeding-season it is found, as a rule, in the most stony and bare deserts.