(627) Prunella atrogularis.
The Black-throated hedge-sparrow.
Accentor atrogularis Brandt, Bull. Acad. St. Petersb., p. 140 (1844) (Semi-Palatine). Tharrhaleus atrigularis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 170.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Lores, ear-coverts, sides of the head, chin and throat black; a very narrow broken moustachial streak buff; forehead and crown dark brown, darker at the sides above a broad buff supercilium, the feathers all centred darker; back and scapulars fulvous-brown, often ashy on the nape, with broad brown central streaks; rump and upper tail-coverts brown; tail brown with very narrow paler edges; breast, sides of the neck and flanks ochraceous buff with concealed black bases to the feathers and the flanks with brown streaks; .abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts white to pale buff, the last-named with broad, dark brown centres. Wings brownish black ; the visible portions of the outer webs of all the feathers rufous-fulvous ; the median and greater coverts with faint white tips to the outer webs ; in the innermost secondaries the deep brown centres show conspicuously.
After the Autumn moult the pale margins to the feathers of the upper plumage are broader and the general tinge paler; the throat is fringed with whitish and the black parts therefore duller and less conspicuous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel-brown; bill dark horny-brown, the base fleshy or yellowish horny; legs and feet fleshy or horny-brown, the claws darker.
Measurements. Total length about 155 mm.; wing 72 to 79 mm.; tail 58 to 64 mm.: tarsus about 21 mm.; culmen about 11 mm.
Distribution. Turkestan and the Tian Schan ; Himalayas from Afghanistan and Baluchistan through Kashmir, Garhwal, Nepal and Sikkim to Tibet. It has been obtained in winter as far South as the Salt Range.
Nidification. This is not an uncommon breeding bird in Tibet above 12,000 feet, perhaps more often over 14,000 feet, in June and July and, probably, also in the end of May. The nest is typical of that of the family, all those I have received having been built in among the roots and lowest branches of a prickly little thorn-bush. The eggs, three or four in number in Tibet, as many as six in Turkestan, are not distinguishable from those of other species of this subfamily. Thirty eggs average 19.1 x 14.1 mm. and the extremes are: maxima 20.2 X 13.5 and 19.0 x 14.7 mm.; minima 17.4 X 13.4 mm.
Habits. Those of the subfamily.