594. Arceuthornis musicus

(594) Arceuthornis musicus.

The Redwing.

Turdus musicus Linn., S. N., i, p. 169 (1758) (Sweden). Turdus iliacus. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 150.

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description. Whole upper plumage and tail olive-brown, darkest on the head, palest on the upper tan-coverts; a broad supercilium buff; wings dark brown, the feathers edged with pale rufescent olive-brown; lores and ear-coverts deep brown, the latter with faint pale central striae; flanks, under wing-coverts and axillaries chestnut; under surface white suffused with buff on the breast and sides and streaked with brown, which is almost black on the throat and sides of the neck.

Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; upper mandible dark brown, lower mandible dark at the tip, fleshy horny at the base; legs fleshy grey-brown.

Measurements. Total length about 230 to 240 ram.; wing 110 to 120 mm.; tail 76 to 84 mm.; tarsus about 30 mm.; culmen 18 to 20 mm.

The Young bird has the feathers of the upper parts, the wing-coverts and inner secondaries streaked with fulvous and those of the back and scapulars also tipped with black; the underpays are dull white barred and spotted with blackish.

Distribution. Iceland, Northern Europe as far South as North Germany and Central Russia East to the Pacific but getting less common East of the Yenesei. In Winter it migrates South to the Canaries, Northern Africa, Palestine, Persia and Turkestan. A doubtful straggler into India. Jerdon recorded it as having been obtained in the N.W. Himalayas and also that Lieut. Trotter had informed him that it was a regular visitor at Kohat. Magrath, Whitehead, Harington and others have quite failed to confirm this latter statement.

Nidification. The Redwing makes a nest which is a small, neat replica of the Fieldfare's, but it does not nest in colonies and selects as a site some low bush or shrub where the nest is very inconspicuous and, at times, it even builds it on the ground. The eggs are like small Blackbird's and do not vary nearly as much as the Fieldfare's do. Hartert gives the average of fifty eggs as 25.8 x 18.7 mm.: maxima 27.8 x 19.8 and 26.2 x 20.0 mm.; minima 23.5 x 19.0 mm. and 26.0 x 17.5 mm.

They lay four to six eggs and breed principally in June.

Habits. The Redwing is a frequenter of more heavily-wooded areas than the Fieldfare and is seldom seen in open, treeless country. Its song is sweet but not very powerful.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.2 1924.
Title in Book: 
594. Arceuthornis musicus
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Turdus iliacus
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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