657. Adelura caeruleicephala.
The Blue-headed Robin.
Phoenicura caeruleocephala, Vigors, P. Z. 8. 1830, p. 35; Gould, Cent. pl. xxv, fig. 2. Ruticilla caeruleocephala (Vig), Blyth, Cat. p. 168; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 307 ; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 141; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 42; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 211, pl. xiv; Hume, N. & E. p. 322; id. S. F. vii, p. 391; id. Cat. no. 504; Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 353 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 69. Adelura (Ruticilla) caeruleocephala ( Vig.), Brooks, S. F. iii, p. 240.
The Blue-headed Redstart, Jerd.
Coloration. Male. After the autumn moult the forehead, crown, and nape are pale blue, each feather with a broad brown fringe; back, scapulars, upper rump, sides of neck, chin, throat, and breast black, the feathers broadly fringed with brown; lores, cheeks, and ear-coverts plain black; lower rump and upper tail-coverts black, with very narrow brown fringes; tail entirely black ; wings dark brown or black, the median coverts, the inner greater coverts, and broad margins to tertiaries and later secondaries white; abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts white; under wing-coverts and axillaries black, with white tips. In spring all the fringes of the feathers are lost, the forehead, crown, and nape become uniform blue, and the black parts of the plumage deep black.
Female. Upper plumage rich brown, the lower part of the rump tinged with rufous, and the upper tail-coverts ferruginous; tail brown, .narrowly edged with ferruginous; wings brown, the coverts and tertiaries broadly edged and tipped with fulvous-white ; the other quills narrowly margined paler; lower plumage ashy brown tinged with fulvous, becoming almost pure white on the abdomen and upper tail-coverts ; a ring of pale feathers round the eye.
The nestling is mottled all over, and the young male may be known at all ages by the white margins on the wings.
Bill dark brown; legs, feet, and claws black; iris dark brown (Hume).
Length about 6; tail 2.7; wing 3.2; tarsus .8; bill from gape .65.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Afghanistan and Gilgit to Bhutan. I have seen no specimen of this bird from Sikhim, and only one from Bhutan, collected by Pemberton. This species is found from 10,000 feet upwards in summer, but at much lower levels in winter. In summer it extends into Turkestan.
Habits, &c. Breeds in Gilgit and Afghanistan in May and June, and generally throughout the higher parts of the Himalayas. According to Wardlaw Ramsay the nest is composed of small twigs and grass, lined with hair, and is placed in a crevice or hole in the face of a cliff. The eggs, five in number, are of a dull cream-colour, with a darker zone of the same round the thicker end, and measure about .84 by .62. According to Hume this species lays a blue unspotted egg, but it appears from his account that in the single instance in which he found the nest he did not secure the bird, and consequently there may have been some mistake about it. I am also disposed to believe that "Wardlaw Ramsay's identification of the eggs is correct, as the bird is not a Redstart according to my views.