(533) Phaenicurus erythrogaster grandis.
Ruticilla grandis Gould, P. Z. S., 1849, p. 112 (1850) (Afghanistan). Ruticilla erythrogaster. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 97.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male in Summer. Crown, nape and hind neck pure white, the latter with a few ashy-grey margins ; forehead, back, scapulars, wing-coverts, sides of head" and neck, chin, throat and breast black; quills brownish black, the primaries and outer secondaries with broad white bases ; remainder of plumage deep chestnut, the tips of the central tail-feathers brownish.
In Winter the white feathers of the crown are fringed with grey and the black portions of the plumage, more especially the lower breast, are also fringed to some extent with ashy-grey.
The chestnut parts in this race are not nearly so rich or deep in colour as they are in true erythrogaster.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill, legs and feet black. According to Hume the bill is yellow at the gape.
Measurements. "Wing 102 to 131 mm. (in one case 97 mm.); tail 70 to 76 mm.; tarsus about 26 mm.; culmen about 13 mm.
Female. Upper plumage and wings light ashy-brown, sometimes with an almost vinous tinge; edges of wing-feathers dull fulvous-white ; rump to tail as m the male, but duller and paler and the central tail-feathers more brown; below fulvous-grey, sometimes albescent on throat and more fulvous on abdomen and vent; under tail-coverts pale fulvous-rufous.
Measurements. Wing 95 to 99 mm.; tail 62 to 68 mm.; culmen 12 to 13 mm.
The young bird is like the female, but has the feathers of the head and back with dark edges and of the uuderparts with pale centres and dark margins.
Distribution. Kashmir and the extreme N.E. Frontier to Sikkim, Tibet and Kansu. It is also found in East Turkestan, the Altai and the Trans-Baikal Country.
Nidification, That of the genus. The eggs are pure blue and measure about 22.0 x 15.5 mm. The breeding-season is June. Whistler took its nest in Lahul at 16,000 feet.
Habits. In Summer this bird is found up to at least 16,000 feet frequenting the vicinity of water, both running and still, and also low, open hill-sides. In Winter it is found down as low as the foot-hills and adjoining Plains.