(527) Phaenicurus schisticeps.
The White-throated Redstart.
Ruticilla schisticeps Hodgs., Cat. Mamm. & B. Nep., p. 69 (1840) (Nepal); Blanf. & Gates, ii. p. 92.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Male. Forehead and crown cobalt-blue, darkening on the nape; a frontal line, head, throat, neck, back and scapulars black; the longest scapulars tipped with chestnut; rump, upper tail-coverts and base of tail chestnut, rest of tail black; inner wing-coverts pure white; outer coverts and quills brown, the inner secondaries broadly edged with white; a bold "white patch surrounded with black on the lower throat; underparts rich chestnut fading to albescent on the centre of the abdomen.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill and legs black.
Measurements. Total length about 150 to 160 mm.; wing 84 to 87 mm.; tail 68 to 70 mm.; tarsus about 24 mm.; culmen about 12 mm.
Male in Winter has the feathers of the head and back fringed with rufous, and the feathers of the breast very narrowly edged with fulvous.
Female. Above olive-brown tinged with rufous, rump and tail like that of the male but paler; wings like the male but a paler brown; below fulvous-ashy; a white patch on the throat; the abdomen and posterior flanks paler and tinged with rufous.
Distribution. Nepal and Sikkim, through Tibet and Eastern Assam to "Kansu. In winter is found in Assam South of the Brahmaputra, Eastern Bengal and Behar and parts of Burma.
Nidification. Pleske found its nest in Kansu, a cup made of moss and lined with hair and feathers, on the 11th May. The four eggs he describes as reddish pink, spotted faintly with light brown. In length they measured 19.5 to 20 mm.; and in breadth from 14.5 to 15.5 mm.
Habits. This is a bird of high elevations, in summer between 10,000 and 15,000 feet wandering up to 17,000 feet, in the winter frequenting the lower hills and valleys between 2,000 and 5,000 feet. It is common in the hills of Assam South of the Brahmaputra in winter and Dr. Coltart and I obtained it several times in the foot-hills about Margherita at between 700 and 1,000 feet.
It is generally seen in pairs and is a bird of forest and scrub rather than open streams, though it is often seen on such as well as on those which run through heavy jungle. In all its actions it is a typical Redstart.