674. Merula fuscata.
The Dusky Ouzel.
Turdus fuscatus, Pall. Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. i, p. 451, pl. xii (1811). Planesticus fuscatus (Pall.), Jerd. R. I. i, p, 530; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt, ii, p. 159, xlv, pt, ii, p. 72. Tardus dubius, Bechst. apud Hume, Cat. no. 366, Merula fuscata (Pall.), Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 262.
The Dusky Thrush, Jerd.
Coloration. Male. After the autumn moult the forehead, crown, and nape are black, with narrow grey margins; the remaining upper plumage black, with broad rufous-grey margins, the rufous increasing in intensity towards the tail; wing-coverts and quills blackish, each feather margined exteriorly with dull chestnut; tail black, very narrowly edged with rufous; a distinct pale buff supercilium from the nostril to the nape; lores and ear-coverts black; chin, throat, upper breast, and sides of the head and neck pale buff, with a few brown marks; lower breast and sides of the body black, the former with narrow, the latter with broad, white margins ; abdomen white; under tail-coverts brown, broadly edged with white; axillaries and under wing-coverts dull chestnut.
Female. Differs from the male in having the dark portions of the upper plumage brown, in having the chin and throat much spotted with black, and in having the black on the lower breast much less in extent.
In the spring the margins on the upper plumage disappear, and these parts become nearly uniform black or brown. Some birds from Siberia, however, exhibit a largo amount of rufous on the upper plumage even in the height of summer, the black or brown parts becoming very worn and faded.
Young birds after the first autumn moult have the black centres to the feathers of the upper plumage smaller than in adults, the chin and throat very much streaked and spotted and less black on the lower parts.
Iris dark brown; bill horny brown, yellowish towards the base of the lower mandible; legs light brown (Wardlaw-Ramsay); iris dark brown, bill black above, dull yellow below, legs dull brown (Godw.-Aust.).
Length about 9.5; tail 3.5; wing 5; tarsus 1.25; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. A rare winter visitor to the north-eastern portion of the Empire. Hodgson procured this species in Nepal; Godwin-Austen at Harmutti in the Daphla hills in Assam and on the peak of Japvo, the highest point of the Burrail range, at 10,000 feet; Hume at Shillong and Dibrugarh in Assam, and Wardlaw-Ramsay at Toungngoo in Burma. A specimen in the Hume Collection from the Bhutan Doars, referred to this species, appears to me to be M. atrigularis in immature plumage.
This Ouzel summers in the eastern portion of Siberia, and is found in winter in Japan and China. Occasionally it wanders into Europe.