(553) Adelura caeruleocephala.
The Blue-headed Robin.
Phaenicura caeruleocephala Vigors, P. Z. S., 1831, p. 35 (Himalayas). Adelura caeruleicephala. Blanf. & Oates, ii; p. 108.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male in summer. Crown to nape bright smalt-blue; the median and inner greater wing-coverts are white, and the inner secondaries are broadly margined with white; abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts white; remainder of plumage black ; axillaries black tipped with white.
In Winter the feathers of the crown, upper plumage and breast are all broadly margined with rufescent-brown, almost entirely concealing the blue: round the eye and on the lores the black remains almost immaculate.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill dark brown to jet-black ; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 155 mm.; wing 81 to 85 mm.; tail 60 to 66 mm.; tarsus 23 mm.; culmen 11 mm.
Female. A ring of pale feathers round the eye; head, neck and back brown, sometimes with faint rufous or fulvous tinge, lower rump and upper tail-coverts ferruginous ; tail darker brown edged with ferruginous ; wings brown, the median and greater coverts broadly edged with fulvous-white forming two bold wing-bars and the inner secondaries with fulvous edges ; below paler ashy-brown, more strongly tinged with fulvous; abdomen and vent almost pure white.
Measurements. Wing 77 to 80 mm.; tail 58 to 64 mm.; tarsus 22 mm.; culmen 11 mm.
Nestling. Above fulvous-brown, each feather edged with dark brown; below dull ashy-brown with pronounced blackish edges; abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts white, upper tail-coverts ferruginous ; tail and wings in both sexes like the adult.
Distribution. Turkestan to Afghanistan and Baluchistan and the Himalayas to Sikkim and Bhutan.
Nidification. The Blue-headed Bo bin breeds m May and June between 8,000 and 12.000 feet and perhaps up to some 14,000 feet. The nest is cup-shaped, made of moss, mixed with twigs, leaves and roots and well-lined with hair or fur and a few feathers. It is placed in a hollow in a bank, amongst the roots of a tree, under a boulder or a fallen log but, wherever placed, is always well concealed. The eggs number three or four and in colour are a pale stone-grey or grey-blue with a ring of the finest pale reddish specks at the larger end. As a rule, the frecklings are absent else¬where, but occasionally are scattered all over the egg, giving it a reddish tinge, though the marks themselves are so fine they are hard to make out. In shape the eggs are broad ovals, somewhat pointed at the smaller end. They measure about 18.8 x 14.0 mm.
Habits. The Blue-headed Robin is far more a Robin than a Redstart in its actions and Habits. It certainly does feed on the ground sometimes, but it also haunts bushes and scrub and may not seldom be found hunting about for insects in the higher branches of trees. It has a sweet but rather feeble little song in the breeding-season.