84. BLACK REDSTART.
Ruticilla titys (Scop.). Ann. 1 Hist. Nat. p. 157, No. 233 (1769) ; (Hewitson), i. p. 105, pl. xxix. fig. 3 ; Naumann, iii, p. 525, Taf. 79. figs. 3, 4 ; Gould, B. of E. ii. pl. 96 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 52 ; Newton, i. p. 333 ; Dresser, ii. p. 293. pl. 29 ; Saunders, p. 33 ; Lilford, iii. p. 16, pl. 8 ; R. cairii, Gerbe. Dict. Univ. d'Hist. Nat. xi. p. 259 (1848).
Rouge-queue des Murailles, French ; Rabiruiva, Portug. ; Culirojo. Tintorero, Span. ; Coderosso-spazzacamino, Ital. ; Haus-rothling, German ; Zwaarte Roodstart, Dutch ; Sort-Rodstjert, Dan. ; Svart-Rodstjert, Swed.
Male ad. (Germany). Crown, nape, and back dark slate-grey ; tail and tail-coverts chestnut-red, the central tail feathers dark brown, wings blackish grey ; the secondaries with broad white margins ; axillaries grey ; frontal line, sides of the head and neck, throat, and breast deep black ; abdomen slate grey, nearly white in the centre ; beak and legs black ; iris brown. Culmen 0.6, wing, 3.55, tail 2.8, tarsus 0.95 inch. The female, has the upper parts sooty brownish grey ; under parts pale sooty brown, the centre of the abdomen whitish ; wings browner than in the male ; tail and tail-coverts similar to male. The young bird resembles the female, and the nestling has the plumage indistinctly barred. In the winter the male has the black feathers more or less tipped with grey, but the female does not differ from its summer dress.
Hab. Central and southern Europe, yearly visiting the British Islands mostly in autumn and winter ; straying to southern Scandinavia, and Iceland (once) ; east to the Ural and Asia Minor, south to North Africa and, in winter, as far south as Southern Nubia.
In general habits it does not differ much from R, phoenicurus, but frequents houses, and is even found in towns and cities, and it affects rocky localities and ravines in preference to groves. It is tame and familiar in its habits, sometimes almost as much so as the Redbreast ; its call note and song resemble those of the Common Redstart. It breeds in central and southern Europe as far north as Holland, and in North Africa, and commences nidification early in May. The nest, which is placed in sheds, holes in walls, under the eaves of an outhouse, or in clefts of the rocks, is constructed of grass, moss, and rootlets, and lined with hair, wool, or feathers, and the eggs usually 4 or 5 in number are pure white, measuring about 0.75 by 0.58, but occasionally, though very rarely, eggs are found which are faintly spotted with brown. R. cairii is merely the young plumage of the present species.
84. Ruticilla titys
84. BLACK REDSTART.