Cotile rupestris, Scop. Ann. i. Hist. Nat. p. 167 (1769) ; (Naum.) vi. p. 91, Taf. 146, figs. 1, 2 ; (Gould), B. of E. ii. pl. 56 ; Dresser, iii. p. 513, pl. 164 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. MUS X. p. 109 ; Oates, F. Brit. Ind. Birds, ii. p. 274.
Hirondelle de rocher French ; Andorinha das rochas, Portug. ; Golondrina sylvestre, Span. ; Rondine montana, Ital. ; Gornui strichok, Russ.
Male ad. (Asia Minor). Upper parts mouse-brown, rather darker on the crown ; wings and tail dull brown ; all the rectrices except the two middle, and the outermost on each side with a large oval white spot on the inner web ; throat and breast dirty white with a few dull brown streaks on the chin and upper throat ; rest of under parts rusty ash-brown ; under tail-coverts darker ashy brown ; bill dark horn ; feet brown ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.48, wing 5.25, tail 2.25, tarsus 0.45 inch. Sexes alike. The young has the upper parts darker, the back and scapulars margined with dull rufous, the secondaries edged with white, the upper tail-coverts with dull white margins, and the under parts duller.
Hab. Southern Europe ; North Africa ; ranging through Asia Minor east in Asia, to the Himalayas, Tibet, Mongolia, and N. China, and is resident almost throughout its range.
In general habits it does not differ much from its allies, and like them feeds on insects which it captures on the wing. Its flight is more fluttering, and less direct than that of the Swallow, and it frequently rests, perching on the dead branch of a tree or on a cliff. It frequents mountain gorges though not at great altitudes. Its note is a low ch or chih. It breeds late in May placing its nest in the roof of a cave and is not gregarious, more than one or two nests being seldom found in the same cave. The nest is a shallow cup of mud open at the sides, rather small for the size of the bird, and is lined with wool, thistle-down, and feathers. The eggs, 5 or 6 in number, resemble pale varieties of those of H. rustica, being white profusely spotted, chiefly at the larger end, with pale greyish brown surface-spots and a few indistinct shell-markings.
402. Cotile rupestris