Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/113

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PARUS. 8] but is not a seed-eater, nor does it seem to enjoy a stray meat- bone from the kitchen as cinereus does. Its note is a very loud four syllabic whistle, which may be written ti-ti-tee-it, the third syllable much prolonged. In 8hillong, where it is very common, this call is the first bird-note to be heard in the early dawn when it is most persistent and shrill though quite musical.

(60) Parus cyanus tianschanicus.

The TiAis^scHA]!^ Blue-Tit.

Cyanistes cyanus var. tianschanicus Menzbier, Bull. See. Zool. France, ix, p. 270 (1884) (Mountaius of Central Asia).

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description. A thin line of deep blue running through the eye and over the ear-coverts in a narrow collar rouud the nape; remainder of head pale vinous blue or blue-grey; back pale blue-grey; upper tail-coverts briglit dark blue, tipped with white; outermost tail-feathers white, with the basal third of the inner web black; on each succeeding pair the white decreases and the bkack increases and becomes more blue, especially on the outer web, until the central rect rices are all dark blue, except for broad white tips. Visible portion of closed wing deep blue, the quills edged with white on their terminal halves and the inner secondaries with bold white tips also; greater coverts with similai tips making a broad bar of white across the wing. Below pale vinous blue-grey with a broad patch of black on the abdomen forming an interrupted black median Hue on these parts.

Colours of soft parts. Bill slaty horn; irides brown; legs and feet plumbeous.

Measurements. Wing about 75 mm., tail about Go mm.; culmen about 7 mm.; tarsus about 15 mm.

Distribution. Tianschan, Turkestan, Afghanistan, Chitral.

Nidification. It is said to breed in May, laying 10 or IL typical Blue-Tits' eggs, white spotted with red, in a nest of hair and grass in a hole. In size they seem to vary between 18'5xl2-5 {Dyhoivslci) and 14-8 x 115 mm. {Rey).

Habits. Those of the genus. They are found at considerable elevations, certainly up to 12,000 feet, descending lower in winter, especially in the most northern parts of their habitat where they may be found at the level of the Plains. Fulton obtained five young birds in Chitral, at 10,000 feet in July 1902; he reports that this Tit was common there in the river-bed, where they were frequenting dense scrub of willow, juniper and birch. VOL. I. G