(529) Phaenicurus erythronotus.
Sylvia erythronota Eversm., Add. ad Pall. Zoog. Rosso-As., ii, p. 11 (1841) (Altai). Ruticilla erythremia. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 94.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male in Summer. A frontal line, lores, cheeks, point of chin and sides of neck black produced round the back of the neck as a not very distinct collar; crown, nape and hind neck pale ashy-blue, the nape and hind neck almost always with the ashy-grey fringes of the winter plumage still obscuring the blue ; back, scapulars, throat, breast and flanks chestnut, to some extent fringed above with grey and below with white; rump chestnut, tail the same but with the central pair of feathers and the tips of the outermost pair dark brown; wings dark brown, the quills edged with grey, the greater and median coverts broadly edged with pale fulvous ; the inner coverts pure white forming a very conspicuous wing-patch; the primary-coverts are also broadly edged with white; abdomen and under tail-coverts fulvous-white to almost pure white.
After the Autumn moult the blue of the head is completely concealed by ashy-grey fringes; the chestnut of the back and the black collar hardly show and the fringes on the black parts of the head and on the chestnut breast are broader and obscure the other colours.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown or blackish brown; bill and feet black, the mouth yellowish or flesh-colour.
Measurements. Total length about 163 to 167 mm.; wing 84 to 89 mm.: tail 64 to 70 mm.; tarsus about 23 mm. (to 26, Whistler); culmen about 10 to 12 mm. (" culmen from skull Li to 16.5 mm.," Whistler).
Adult female. Upper parts, sides of head and neck and wings brown; the winglet mostly white, the median coverts with broad fulvous edges and a white patch but much smaller than in the male and much mottled with brown; rump, upper tail-coverts and tail as in the male; an indistinct ring of white feathers round the eye; lower plumage pale grey-brown, tinged here and there with rufous-orange and paler on abdomen and vent; lower tail-coverts pale fulvous.
Measurements. The female is practically the same size as the male; wing 82 to S8 mm.
The Young have the dark feathers of the upper parts streaked with fulvous and the breast mottled.
Distribution. Breeding in Turkestan, Trans-Caspia and East Persia, and wandering in winter to South Persia, Afghanistan and Kashmir. Marshall found it common near Quetta, Whitehead at Kohat and Kurram. Koto thai in. the Himalayas still remains the most Eastern point at which it has been obtained, but to the South its previously recorded limit has been greatly extended by Mr. H. Whistler, who found it to be a common winter visitor to the Jhang District in the Punjab.
Nidification. Eggs sent me from Turkestan and also some described by Nehrkorn are very like the eggs of Saxicola torquata indica in coloration, but in shape are more narrow and pointed, and in texture harder and more glossy. The reddish markings are scattered all over the eggs and do not form definite rings as in the Bush-Chat's eggs. They measure about 18.4.xl3.9 mm.
The nest was said to have been built in an old wall and to have been made of grass, moss and roots lined with wool
Habits. Eversmann's Redstart is said to frequent open spaces in well-wooded country, and to be a land-haunter rather than one of streams and rivers. "Whitehead says that its call sounds like a croaking "gre-er " and Whistler says that its ordinary call-note is a softer edition of this sound. The latter also refers to its habit, common to both sexes, of flirting the tail up and down above the level of the back, whereas in the common Redstart it is only shivered.