Ruticilla rufiventris, Vieill.
497. Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 137 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 478 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Voh IX, p. 405 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 146 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885.
THE INDIAN REDSTART.
Length, 6 ; expanse, 10 ; wing, 3.5; tail, 2.55 ; tarsus, 1; bill from gape, 0.6 ; bill at front, 0.4.
Bill black; irides brown ; legs black.
Crown dark ashy-grey; lores, ear-coverts, neck, throat, breast, back and upper wing-coverts, black with greyish edges to the feathers ; wings dusky-brown ; the primaries margined with pale rufous, the secondaries with dull grey, forming an inconspicuous patch; under wing-coverts, flanks, belly, rump, upper and lower tail-coverts and tail (except half the inner and a little of the outer webs of the two middle tail feathers near the tip, which are brown), bright cinnamon-rufous.
The female is brown above, with the edges of the wings, the abdomen, and under tail-coverts, pale rufous; below, dusky on the throat and breast, changing to clear light rufous on the abdomen and under tail-coverts ; rump and tail as in the male.
Mr. Hume, Stray Feathers, Vol. V, p. 36, describes six tolerably distinct stages of plumage, viz: :-
I. Winter plumage. :- Black of upper surface entirely veiled by ashy, rufous-ashy, or brownish-rufous, tips to the feathers. Black of breast more or less ditto.
II. Early spring stage. :- Tippings of the feathers disappearing first from the breast, next from back, and lastly from the head.
III. Ante-nuptial stage. :- Whole head, neck, breast and upper breast pure black.
IV. Nuptial stage. :- Black duller; a greyish-white band across the forehead (dividing off the black of the base of the forehead as a black frontal band), with a grey shade extending backwards on to the crown.
V. Early autumn stage. :- Broad conspicuous black frontal band; throat, breast, sides of neck, pure black.
Front of head pale blue-grey, growing duller on occiput. Back more or less veiled with grey or rufous-ash tippings.
VI. Late autumn stage. :- Frontal band not showing out conspicuously ; crown and back unicolorous.
Black of breast, &c, more or less veiled with grey or rufous-ashy tippings.
The Indian Redstart is a very common winter visitant to all parts of the district, appearing about the end of September, and leaving towards the end of March, or commencement of April.