Genus SAXICOLA

The genus Saxicola contains a large number of species which are essentially birds of deserts and waste lands, and they are most developed in the dry parts of South-western Asia and Northern Africa. The majority of them are migratory to a greater or less extent, and a few appear to be resident. The sexes are usually dissimilar, and both sexes undergo a seasonal change of plumage, which in some species causes a very great alteration in their appearance. In all the species and in both sexes the tail is marked with two colours, generally black and white and occasionally black and chestnut.

In Saxicola the bill is about half the length of the head, slender, and not widened at the base; the rictal bristles are few and weak; the wing is sharp, the first primary being about one third the length of the second; the tail is shorter than the wing and nearly square, and the tarsus is moderate.

The young of Saxicola are in general like the adult female, but each feather of the plumage has a terminal dark bar and a pale centre, causing a mottled appearance. This plumage at the first autumn gives place to that of the adult.

Key to the Species.

a. Tail white or buff and brown; the lateral feathers immaculate or merely obliquely marked with black…………………….S. monacha, p. 69.
b. Tail white and black; the laterals with a broad band at the tip.
a1. Band on lateral tail-feathers not exceed¬ing 1 inch in breadth.
a2. Second primary shorter than sixth.
a3. Sexes alike; plumage black and white; wing 4 inches or longer…………………….S. albinigra, p. 70.
b3. Sexes different; males black and white; female brown; wing under 3.7 inches.
a4. Abdomen white, and crown black…………………….S. picata p. 71.
b4. Abdomen and crown white…………………….S. capistrata p. 72.
c4. Abdomen black…………………….S. opistholeuca p. 73.
d4. Throat and breast dark brown, contrasting with the pale abdomen…………………….S. picata p. 71.
e4. Throat and breast buff, blending softly with the paler buff of the abdomen…………………….S. capistrata p. 72.
f4. Throat, breast, and upper abdomen sooty brown…………………….S. opistholeuca p. 73.
b2. Second primary between the fifth and sixth ; sexes different *.
c3. Chin and throat black.
g4. Back and scapulars of the same colour…………………….S. pleschanka p. 73.
h4. Back buff, scapulars black…………………….Si burnesi p. 75.
d3. Chin and throat white…………………….S. vittata , p. 75.
c2. Second primary equal to or longer than fifth; throat never black.
e3. Sexes different; band on tail .8 inch; under wing-coverts and ax¬illaries black edged with white, or brown edged fulvous…………………….S, oenanthe, p 76.
f3. Sexes alike ; band on tail 1 inch; under wing-coverts and axillaries uniform fulvous……………………. S. isabellina, p. 77.
b1. Band on lateral tail-feathers more than 1 inch in breadth.
d2. Wing 37; inner webs of quills of wing narrowly margined white…………………….S. deserti, p. 78.
e2. Wing4; inner webs of quills of wing nearly entirely white…………………….S. montana, p. 78.
c. Tail chestnut and black ; the lateral fea¬thers with a broad band at the tip…………………….S. chrysopygia, p. 70.

* I am not acquainted with the females of S. barnesi and S. vittata, and consequently I do not enter either of these in the Key, nor the female of S. pleschanka, which comes into this same section.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.2 1890.
Title in Book: 
Genus SAXICOLA
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1890
Page No: 
67
M_ID: 
28493
M_SN: 
Oenanthe
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
842

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