533. Phoenieurus erythrogaster grandis

(533) Phoenicurus erythrogaster grandis (Gould).
Phoenicurus erythrogaster grandis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 78.
This fine Redstart breeds in the higher hills and mountains of Afghanistan, Gilgit and thence through Kashmir to Tibet and Kansu.
There is very little on record about the breeding of this Redstart within our limits but Whistler records finding its nest at Lahul at 16,000 feet. Its eggs have been described as pure blue and as measuring about 22.0 x 15.5 mm., but the identification must have been wrong in these cases, as Osmaston has now found two nests (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxxi, p. 982, 1927), of which he writes as follows :—“This bird occurs rather sparingly in Ladakh at considerable elevations only. In the winter months they appear to move down to 10,000 feet or, perhaps, lower in the Indus Valley. In May they move up to their breeding haunts at from 13,000 to 16,000 feet. They frequent streams and mountain torrents. Superficially they strongly resemble Ghaimarrhornis, the White- capped Water-Redstart, from which, however, they may at once be distinguished by the white wing-patch. Nidification commences early, fresh eggs being obtainable in the first week in June. Nests are rather bulky affairs, composed of wool and dried grass, matted together and lined with hair and a few feathers.
“The eggs, four in number, are white, marked with pale rufous or chestnut, and resemble well-marked eggs of the English Robin.
“Seven eggs average 22.4 x 17.0 mm.”
In sending me these eggs Osmaston gives the following additional information:—“The first nest, taken on the 7th June, was placed in a hole in a Mani (boundary of field) wall, invisible until several stones had been removed. It was placed about five feet from the ground and was built of dry grass and weeds and profusely lined with wool, a little hair and two or three feathers. The second nest was taken on the 9th, was similar in description and was built in the same kind of wall at a height of about 4'. The eggs, four, were on the point of hatching, and one was broken in the attempt to blow it.”
We do not know how long incubation takes with this bird, but it cannot well be less than thirteen days, so that it would appear that complete clutches must sometimes be laid by the last week in May and that this and June are the breeding months.
The eggs are white, in one clutch feebly freckled all over with pale reddish ; in the second more boldly speckled with darker reddish, principally at the larger end, where they form zones. In the first clutch the eggs are broad, blunt ovals in shape, the second longer and much more pointed. The texture is fine and hard but not very glossy.
According to my measurements the eggs average only 22.1 x 16.9 mm. : maxima 23.6 x 17.0 and 23.4 x 17.3 mm. ; minima .21.0 x 17.0 and 22.0 x 16.3 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
533. Phoenieurus erythrogaster grandis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Afghan Great Redstart
Phoenicurus erythrogastrus grandis
Vol. 2

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