(593) Arceuthornis pilaris.
Turdus pilaris Linn., S. N., i, p. 168 (1758; (Sweden) ; Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 150.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Head, neck, extreme upper back, rump and upper tail-coverts slaty-grey, the feathers of the forehead and crown with black centres and the rump with white shafts; back and scapulars dark chestnut-brown, mottled, more or less, with blackish and dull white; tail dark brown, the outer feathers narrowly edged with white at the tips; wing-coverts dull chestnut-brown with pale edges; winglet, greater coverts and quills dark brown with pale edges; the innermost secondaries all grey on the outer web; lores and cheeks dark brown or black; ear-coverts like the crown; a very faint trace of a supercilium; chin, throat and breast rufous-buff, darkest on the breast, the chin unspotted, the rest boldly streaked with black ; remainder of lower plumage white, the flanks and sometimes the lower breast with bold black crescentic bars or spots of black. In some specimens a certain amount of rufous or buff also extends to these parts. Axillaries and under wing-coverts white, occasionally with brown centres.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to deep brown; bill yellow with a black tip ; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 280 mm.; wing 140 to 153 mm.; tail 110 to 118 mm.; tarsus about 33 to 35 mm.; culmen 20 to 22 mm.
The Young bird is like the adult but has the centre of the back, coverts and scapulars streaked with fulvous and with black-edges to the feathers.
Distribution. Breeding in Northern Europe from the Faroes, Norway and Sweden, North Russia, rarely North Germany and Central Russia, Siberia East to the Yenesei and, less commonly, further East to Dauria. In Winter it migrates south to Northern Africa and South-West Asia to Kashmir and North-West India.
Nidification. This Thrush breeds in scattered colonies, making a very large untidy nest of leaves, grass, twigs, etc., mud and gross lined, which it places on a tree or bush often in a most conspicuous position. The eggs number four to six and are like richly-coloured and boldly-marked Blackbird eggs. Hartert gives the average of fifty-nine eggs as 28.4 x 21.0 mm.: maxima 33'5 x 23'4 mm.; minima 26.3 x 20.5 and 28.0 x 19.5 mm.
They breed from the last few days of May to late in June.
Habits. This bird, which is only found as a very rare straggler within Indian limits (Simla, Jerdon; Kashmir, Adams and Saharanpur, Jameson), is a bird of well-wooded and cultivated localities. Its song is a very poor one and its call-notes loud and harsh. It feeds, like others of the genus, on both berries and insects.