Pratincola rubetra, (Linn.) Syst. Nat. i. p. 332 (1766) ; Naum. iii. p. 903, Taf. 89, figs. 3, 4 (1823) ; Hewitson, i. p. 108, pl. 30, fig. 2 ; Newton, i.p. 344 ; Dresser, ii. p. 255, pls. 37, 38 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. iv. p. 179 ; Saunders, p. 27 ; Lilford, iii. p. 20, pl. 10.
Tarier, French ; Cartoxo. Portug. ; Tarabilla grande, Span, ; Stiaccino, Ital. ; Wiesenschmatzer, German ; Paapje, Dutch ; Brunstrubet Digesmutte, Dan. ; Buskskvoette, Norweg. ; Buskskvatta, Swed. ; Pensatasku, Finn. ; Tschekkan lugovoi, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Upper parts blackish brown, the feathers margined with rufescent ochre ; rump more rufescent ; upper tail-coverts yellowish white, with a median blackish spot near the tip ; wings dark brown, with a double white patch ; superciliary stripe, chin, and sides of the throat white ; sides of the face and neck blackish brown, under parts pale rufous, except the abdomen, which is dull white ; central tail-feathers and ter¬minal portion of remaining feathers blackish brown, the basal portion white ; bill and legs black ; iris brown. Culmen 0.58, wing 2.9, tail 1.95, tarsus 0.92 inch. The female is duller in colour, the, superciliary stripe is yellowish white, the alar patch smaller, the under parts are yellowish white, the flanks washed with rufous, and the breast slightly spotted. The young resemble the female, but have broader margins to the feathers, and the breast is more spotted.
Hab. Europe generally, ranging as far east as Persia, migrating in winter to North Africa, Senegambia, and the Gold Coast. In N.W. India it is replaced by an allied species, P. macrorhyncha Stoliczka.
Frequents open country, commons, heaths and pastures, and is active and restless, flitting from bush to bush. Its call note is sharp and short, and from it the name of ‘chat’ is derived. Its song is short but agreeable, and is uttered when the bird is perched on a twig, or when fluttering in the air. Its nest which is constructed of fine grass-bents, moss, and roots, and lined with finer bents or hair, is placed amongst bushes or grass carefully concealed, and the eggs from 4to 6 or even 7 in number are dull bluish green with indis¬tinct reddish-brown spots, and measure 0.7 by 0.55. Its food consists of small coleoptera, insects of various kinds, worms, caterpillars, small mollusks, and even occasionally berries.
66. Pratincola rubetra