348. Tichodroma muraria.
Certhia muraria, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 184 (1766). Tichodroma muraria (Linn.), Blyth, Cat. p. 189 ; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 719; Jerd, B. I. i, p. 383; Hume & Senders. Lah. to York. p. 181; Scully, S. F. iv, p. 136; Hume, Cat. no. 247; Gadow, Cat. B. M.viii,-p. 331.
The Red-winged Wall-creeper, Jerd.; Dewal Gaiyuk, Pushtu; Sag-gorsa-lamdong-pho, Lepch.; Svppurotsu, Chamba.
Coloration. In winter plumage the forehead, crown, nape, and ear-coverts are brown; a ring round the eye and a short supercilium white; lores mixed ashy and brown; hind neck, back, and scapulars ashy grey ; rump and upper tail-coverts iron-grey ; lesser wing-coverts bright crimson; the outer greater coverts and the primary-coverts brown on the inner and dull crimson on the outer webs; the inner greater coverts and the tertiaries brown, tinged with ashy; winglet brown; quills black tipped with whitish, the outer webs of the primaries and secondaries, except those of the first three, with the basal half of the outer webs crimson; the first four large primaries each with two large white spots on the inner webs ; tail black lipped with ashy, which gradually changes to white and increases in amount towards the outer feathers; chin and throat pure while; remainder of lower plumage ashy slate; the under tail-coverts fringed with white; axillaries crimson.
In summer the crown of the head becomes grey and the chin and throat black. The female is said to have a smaller extent of the throat black than the male.
The young resemble the adults in winter plumage, but there is less crimson on the wing, and all the quills have each two rufous spots on the inner web. These spots gradually disappear, except on the first four large primaries, where they eventually turn white.
Bill black; iris blackish brown; legs, feet, and claws black (Scully).
Length nearly 7; tail 2.3; wing 4; tarsus .9; bill from gape 1.3.
Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas from Bhutan to the extreme North-west. This species is merely a winter visitor, and is found from October to March at all elevations, but generally above 2500 feet. It, however, sometimes descends to the plains, Hume recording one instance when he procured it at Etawah on ' the Jumna river, and I have seen it from the Bhutan Doars and Dehra. In spring it retreats north, and no doubt breeds in Tibet and other portions of Central Asia. It inhabits a considerable portion of Europe and Asia, and is said to be found in N. Africa.
Habits, &c. The Wall-Creeper frequents cliffs and rocks, about which it climbs with great ease in search of its food, which consists chiefly of spiders and insects. It does not appear to breed in India. Its nest consists of moss, grass, and hair worked up together in a crevice of a rock, and it lays from three to five eggs, which are white freckled with reddish brown and some secondary shell-marks of violet-grey.