639. Ruticilla frontalis.
The Blue-fronted Redstart.
Phoenicura frontalis, Vigors, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 172; Gould, Cent. pl. xxvi, fig. 1. Ruticilla frontalis (Via.), Blyth, Cat. p. 168; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 308; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 141; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 50; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 211; Hume, Cat. no. 503; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 302; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 63 ; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 446; Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 349; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 196; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 64.
Coloration. Male. After the autumn moult the forehead and supercilium are bright blue; remainder of head, neck, back, and lesser and median wing-coverts dull blue, the feathers with brown fringes ; greater coverts dark brown, suffused with blue on the outer webs and tipped with rufous; quills dark brown, margined with pale rufous; rump, upper tail-coverts, breast, and lower plumage chestnut; tail chestnut, except the middle pair of feathers and broad tips to the others, which are black; under wing-coverts and axillaries chestnut with blue bases. In summer the fringes to the feathers of the blue parts of the plumage get worn away, leaving those parts pure blue.
Female. Forehead, crown, nape, scapulars, and back rich brown with a tinge of fulvous; rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail as in the male ; quills and coverts brown, edged with fulvous ; a ring of pale feathers round the eye; chin fulvous; throat and breast fulvous-brown ; remainder of lower parts orange-brown, becoming brighter and purer orange on the abdomen and under tail-coverts.
The young nestling has the tail similar to that of the adult.
Bill, legs, feet, and claws black; iris deep brown (Hume).
Length about 6 ; tail 2.6 ; wing 3.4; tarsus .9 ; bill from gape .7.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Gilgit and Kashmir to Assam ; the Khasi hills ; North Cachar; Manipur. This species is seldom found below 5000 feet in summer, and it occurs up to 14,000 feet or even higher at that season. It extends into Tibet and Western China.
Habits, &c. Little is known of the nidification of this Redstart; eggs said to belong to this species, procured in Sikhim in June, measured about .82 by .59.