619. Saxicola capistrata.
The White-headed, Chat.
Saxicola leucomela (Pall,), apud Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 131. Saxicola capistrata, Gould, Birds Asia, iv, pl. 28 (1865); Hume, S. F. iii, p. 475; Seebohm, Cat, B. M. v, p. 368. Saxicola morio (Hempr. & Ehr.), apud Hume, Cat. no. 490; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 203.
The White-headed Stone-Chat, Jerd.
Coloration. Male. After the autumn moult, the forehead, crown, nape, and hind neck are greyish white, somewhat whiter over the eye and ear-coverts; sides of the head, chin, throat, neck all round, back, scapulars, wings, under wing-coverts, and axillaries black; remainder of lower plumage with rump and upper tail-coverts white; tail white, except the terminal half of the middle pair of feathers and a broad band on the tip of the others, which are black. Soon after the autumn moult the tips of the crown-feathers become reduced, and the crown is much whiter than before. When these feathers become still more worn, the crown has a tendency to exhibit patches of black. There is no other seasonal change of plumage.
Female. Resembles the female of S. picata, but the upper plumage is more sandy; the chin, throat, and breast are light fulvous, very little darker than the remainder of the lower plumage.
The young resemble the adult female, but are mottled below. After the first autumn the males are blackish brown with broad brown fringes, and the crown is always conspicuously paler than the back.
Bill and legs black ; iris brown (Hume).
Length about 7; tail 2.7; wing 3.6 ; tarsus 1; bill from gape .75.
Distribution. A constant resident in the plains of the Punjab, Sind, and Rajputana, extending in this latter area as far south only as Jodhpur and Sambhar ; and apparently not passing east of the Jumna river. This species extends on the west to Kandahar. It appears to be somewhat rare, but I have seen specimens killed in the above localities in every month of the year except May and July,
Seebohm records this bird from the cultivated districts of Turkestan, apparently on the authority of Severtzoff; but this gentleman states (S. E. iii, p. 429) that S. lugens, Licht., of his Turkestan list, is nothing but S. morio or S. hendersoni, and consequently there are now no grounds for stating that S. capistrata occurs in Turk¬estan.
Habits, &c. Nothing is known of the nidification of this species.