513. Cenanthe deserti atrogularis

(513) Oenanthe deserti atrogularis (Blyth).
Oenanthe deserti atrogularis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 51.
This Desert-Chat breeds throughout Central Western Asia from South Caucasus to East Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and North-East Kashmir.
The nest is much the same as that of other Wheatears, a pad of grass, roots, fine twigs etc., much mixed with wool, hair and any other soft material which may be handy, lined with wool or hair or both mixed and, sometimes, a few feathers also. Outwardly the nest is a shapeless mass of material, whilst the depression is a shallow one, roughly about 4 inches across by one or less in depth. It is placed, as a rule, in holes in the ground, sometimes on the flat, more often in banks, mounds or the sides of ravines. The holes are nearly always those of the mouse-hare, rats etc., but it may, alternatively, be built in a hole under a stone, a cleft in a rock, among loose stones or in a hole in a wall around what was formerly cultivation. Wherever it may be placed the country selected is nearly always of the wildest and most forbidding deserts of stone or sand and, even when they are built in man-made walls, these are the broken-down ones round derelict fields which have reverted to their original condition of desert.
In Kohat, where, however, Whitehead says it does net breed, he found them frequently on cultivated land, and remarks that they do not keep so exclusively to the desert as some of its allies.
It has only twice been found breeding within our limits. Marshall first found a nest with young in a hole in a bank near Quetta where, also, the nest and eggs having been taken by Wilhams, who thus records his find:—“In Spring and Autumn this Chat is to be met with in fair numbers in the low foot-hills chiefly to the North-West and North of the Quetta Valley. A few pairs remain to breed in the Quetta Valley itself. The localities they frequent in the breeding season are in the stony wastes, which form the predominating feature of the foot-hills, where there are only a few hardy shrubs and a sprinkling of camel-thorn.
“A nest found on the 15th May, from which the bird was shot and identified, was built in a hole in the bank of a dry nullah, situated in the type of locality described. The nest was built of grass, hair and wool, lined with hair and wool.
“There were four eggs of a very pale blue colour, slightly glossy, with a few faint markings at the large end.
“They average 20.0 x 15.4 mm.”
Ludlow obtained a clutch of five eggs, slightly incubated, from a nest built in a hole in an Ephedra mound on the 13th April. This was near Beturru-Jam, on the Akra-Tekkes road, at an elevation of only 4,000 feet, which, as Ludlow remarks, is remarkably low for our birds, which are said to breed at elevations upwards of 10,000 feet. Both birds were shot and proved to be somewhat intermediate between atrogularis and oreophila in character, though agreeing with the former in size. As, however, they were considerably North of the breeding area of oreophila they must, I consider, be attributed to atrogularis.
I have two clutches of eggs received by Kuschel from Sarkal in Baluchistan, and others from Kuldscha in Turkestan.
The breeding season appears to be April and May.
The ground-colour of the eggs is pale blue, fairly dark for a Wheat- ear’s egg ; some clutches are only faintly freckled with tiny specks of reddish scattered about the larger end ; one clutch has small blotches and spots of deep reddish at the larger end, where they form a rough zone and are scarce elsewhere ; other eggs are inter¬mediate between the two. In shape they vary from a short squat oval to a long oval with much pointed smaller ends. They have a decided gloss.
Thirty eggs average 19.7 x 15.4 mm. : maxima 20.6 x 15.5 and 20.0 x 16.1 mm. ; minima 19.0 x 15.0 and 19.5 x 14.7 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
513. Cenanthe deserti atrogularis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Central Asian Desert Chat
Desert Wheatear
Oenanthe deserti
Vol. 2
Term name: 

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith