532. Phoenicurus ochruros rufiventris

(532) Phoenicurus ochruros rufiventris (Vieill.).
THE EASTERN INDIAN REDSTART.
Phoenicurus ochrurus rufiventris, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p, 77.
The Eastern race of the Common Indian Redstart is found in Tibet and, rarely, in Sikkim during the breeding season. East it extends into Yunnan and thence into the mountains of Central and North China as far East as Mongolia. Wickham records it as staying in the Shan States as late as April but there is nothing to show that it breeds there, and birds of this species may also be seen in Assam up to the end of that month and even during the first week in May.
They are extraordinarily common birds in Tibet, and breed in great numbers in the Gyantse Plain and at all heights from 10,000 or 12,000 feet up to 17,000 feet, i. e. the Summer snow-line.
There is little that can be written about this form which has not already been said about the preceding bird. Since 1907 British officials in Tibet have, from Steen onwards, taken many of their nests and eggs. The following note is a summary of the remarks sent me with a fine series of their eggs taken round about Gyantse :—“This bird is extremely common throughout South Tibet ; further North we cannot say, as we have not been very many miles North of Gyantse. It breeds in great numbers between 11,000 and 15,000 feet and even up to 17,000 feet. It makes a very untidy cup-shaped nest, but with the base well compacted and matted together. Sometimes the nest only forms a sort of soup-plate-shaped affair at the bottom of the hole in which it is built, while the cup is never a very deep one. It is made of roots, grasses and dead leaves, the last-mentioned only being used as a rough base for the real cup of roots and grass. Sometimes a little dried moss is used but never green. It is always well lined with wool, fur or hair and sometimes with the addition of a few feathers, the favourite materials being goat’s or yak’s hair or the fur of the mouse-hare. It may be placed almost anywhere in any convenient hole. Road-side cuttings, banks of streams, heaps of loose stones or boulders, holes in rocks and cliffs, or under a stone on the ground, sometimes in holes in old buildings and, now and then, even in those in occupied houses, either of mud or stone. Perhaps, however, more often than in any of these, the nest is placed in the walls of fields of crops or in the retaining walls of the terraced cultivation. Now and then a nest may be taken from a hole in a tree or in a rotted stump but such are quite exceptional.
“The bird sits very close and will not leave until she is almost touched.”
Ludlow says that moss, among the other materials, is used in the nest, and that the lining is usually of hair. He gives the normal breeding elevation as between 13,000 and 15,000 feet.
The breeding season seems to be May, June and July, about an equal number of nests with eggs having been taken in each of these months.
The full clutch of eggs numbers from four to six and in colour, shape and texture they are, as one would expect, quite indistin¬guishable from those of the Western form. Occasionally one meets with spotted eggs and also an odd egg or two with a deep blue ring round the smaller end.
One hundred eggs average 20.0 x 14.6 mm. : maxima 22.0 x 15.0 and 21.0 x 15.4 mm. ; minima 18.4 x 13.8 mm.
The female seems to carry on the whole of the duties of incubation.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
532. Phoenicurus ochruros rufiventris
Spp Author: 
Vieill.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
532
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
71
Common name: 
Eastern Indian Redstart
M_ID: 
28330
M_SN: 
Phoenicurus ochruros rufiventris
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13707

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