(1149) Ptyonoprogne rupestris.
Hirundo rupestris Scop., Ann. i. Hist. Nat., p. 167 (1769) (Tyrol). Ptyonoprogne rupestris. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 274.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper plumage, sides of head and neck, wings and tail ashy-brown; a large white spot on all the tail-feathers except the central and outermost pair; chin, throat and upper breast dull rufous-white spotted with dull brown; flanks dark ashy ; lower breast and abdomen rufous-ashy ; under tail-coverts dark brown.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black; legs and feet fleshy-white to pale fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 155 mm.; wing 126 to 136 mm.; tail 54 to 57 mm.: tarsus about 12 mm.; culmen about 8 mm.
Young birds have the feathers of the upper plumage margined with rufous ; the whole underparts are pale dull-rufous.
Distribution. North Africa and South Europe, Western Asia to Turkestan, Tibet and Western China in Kansu and Yunnan ; South to North-West India, extending to Mysore, the Nilgiri and Palni Hills and North Travancore. Eastwards its limits have not been defined in the South but Davison saw Crag-Martins, probably of this species, in Tenasserim.
Nidification. The Crag-Martin breeds in the Himalayas between 6,000 and 15,000 feet, at which latter elevation Osmaston saw nests near the Tso Moriri Lake. They make a typical saucer-or half-saucer-shaped nest of pellets of mud, well lined with feathers but open and often unprotected on the top, though as a rule it is built under the shelter of a projecting rock. In the Himalayas they invariably breed in company on cliffs and under or against rocks but in Europe they are said to be less gregarious, often building their nests singly in caves. The eggs," which number three to five, are very like those of the Common Swallow, white with spots and blotches of pale purple and red-brown. In shape they are long oval?, the texture is fine but the surface glossless. Eighty eggs (including 50 Jourdnin) average 20.11x 14.0 mm.: maxima 23.2 x 14.5 and 22.8 x 15.0 mm.; minima 19.0 x 13.4 and 19.2 x 13.1 mm. The breeding-season is May and June in South Europe and June and July in the Himalayas.
Habits. Like all Swallows the Crag-Martins capture their insect-food on the wing but they are less speedy and direct in their movement than those of the genus Hirundo. They are true migrants, wandering far South in Winter and are always more or less gregarious but especially when moving North or South.