(530) Phaenicurus hodgsoni.
Ruticilla hodgsoni Moore, P. Z. S., 1854. p. 26, pi. lviii (Nepal) ; Blanf. & Oates, ii; p. 95.
Vernacular names. Thar-capni (Nepal).
Description.— Adult male in Summer. Forehead, lores, sides of head and neck, chin, throat and upper breast black; crown, nape, back and scapulars ashy, the feathers next the forehead and above the lores and eyes paler, in some instances almost white ; lower rump, upper tail-coverts and tail chestnut, the central tail-feathers are only chestnut on the base and blackish brown elsewhere; wing-coverts black, broadly edged with ashy; quills- brown, the innermost secondaries broadly edged with "white on the basal halves of the outer webs, forming a visible patch of white; lower plumage chestnut, darkest on the lower breast, palest on the vent and lower tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black, the gape fleshy-yellow; legs and feet black or dark brown, the soles yellowish.
Measurements. Total length about 150 to 155 mm.; wing 82 to 87 mm.; tail 66 to 68 mm.; tarsus about 26 mm.; culmen about 11 mm.
In Winter the feathers of the breast and fore-neck are fringed with grey, but these fringes soon wear off.
Female. Upper plumage and wings light brown tinged with ashy; rump and tail as in the male; wing-coverts and quills edged paler; a ring of pale feathers round the eye; under tail-coverts pale chestnut; remainder of under plumage pale ashy-brown, albescent and tinged with rufous on abdomen, posterior flanks and vent.
Measurements. Rather smaller than the male; wing 79 to 82 mm.; tail 62 to 04 mm.
Young are like the female, but the chin, throat and whole breast ashy-grey with pale centres and dark margins, the latter extending on to abdomen and posterior flanks.
Distribution. Breeds in South and Eastern Tibet, West China and possibly North Central China. In Winter it is found in the lower hills from Nepal to Assam, Manipur, Chin and Kachin Hills.
Nidification. This Redstart breeds in great numbers in South-Eastern Tibet, making a nest either just a flat pad or a shallow cup of grass, roots, moss, leaves, etc., lined with hair, fur or wool. In the majority of cases it is placed in holes under stones and boulders on hill-sides but it may also be found in walls, buildings, banks and cliffs. They breed during May and June, odd nests still containing eggs m July and August are possibly second broods. They lay four or five eggs which are a skim-milk blue much paler than those of P. phaenicurus but decidedly darker on the whole than those of P. ochrurus.
Fifty eggs average 20.4 x l4.7 mm.: maxima 22.3 X 14.5 and 21.2 x 16.0 mm.; minima 19.1 x 14.5 and 21.0 x 14.0 mm.
Habits. Hodgson's Redstart is found during the breeding-season from about 10,000 to 17,000 feet but breeds principally between 12,000 and 14,000, whilst in Winter it descends right into the Plains of Assam, Northern Bengal and Behar, though not nearly as commonly in the two latter as the former. In Summer it is found frequenting streams and stony hill-sides as well as grass and scrub-covered plateaux. In its winter haunts it keeps more exclusively to the stony beds of rivers but even at this season may occasionally be found in scrub and grass-land. It is a very tame and confiding bird and frequents at all times cultivation and the open lands round villages and towns.