609. Pratincola atrata.
The Southern Pied Bush-Chat.
Pratincole atrata, Kelaart, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xx, p. 177 (1851); Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 124 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 46. Pratincola tricolor (Sykes), apud Hume, N. & E. p. 314; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 430 ; Hume, Cat. no. 482 ; Davison, S. F. x, p. 389. Pratincola caprata (Linn.), apud Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 195 (part.).
Coloration. In all respects similar in plumage to P. caprata, sex for sex. Differs in being much larger and in having a conspicuously more massive bill.
Length about 6; tail 2.3; wing 3; tarsus .9; bill from gape .75.
In distinguishing between this and the preceding species, P. caprata, the size of the bill alone is quite sufficient. In the present species the bill, measured from the anterior margin of the nostril to the tip, is .4; in P. caprata .3 or less.
I adopt Kelaart's name for this species, as Sykes's Saxicola hicolor was procured in the Deccan, where, so far as I know, only P. caprata, occurs.
Distribution. Southern India, from the Nilgiris to Cape Comorin, above 5000 feet; Ceylon. A permanent resident.
Habits, &c. Breeds from February to May, placing its nest in similar localities to those selected by P. caprata, and laying similar eggs, which, however, are much larger and measure about .77 by .6.