Grey Bushchat

Grey Bushchat  Saxicola ferreus


  • Saxicola : Latin word saxum – stone; cola- dweller { Stone dweller}
  • Ferreus: Latin word for Iron, Iron coloured

Vernacular Names : Lepcha: Sarrak-chak-pho

Distribution in India: Winter Visitor in North East of India

Description: Size of 14-15 cm; wt. of 14-16 g. Male has long white supercilium, grey-fringed back, rump and scapulars, small white wing patch, white outer-tail feathers, grey-washed breast, crown to rump mid-grey with vague dark streaks, face blackish, and wing-feather edges grey. Female has crown to rump and scapulars rufous-brown, rufous-buff wing edgings, rufous-chestnut rump and outer tail, buffy supercilium and throat, blackish-brown face, buff underparts tinged rufous on flanks. The juvenile has short buffy supercilium and wingbar.

Habitat: It is found in open scrubby and bush-covered hillsides, glades, grassy knolls by trees, edges of pine and broadleaf evergreen forest, nearly treeless terraced agricultural land, gardens, weed-covered fields, low hedgerows, bamboo jungle along mule roads. In Himalayas breeds at 1500–3300 m, wintering in similar habitat

Food Habits: It eats insects, including beetles and grasshoppers, also spiders and small molluscs; occasionally seeds. It flies down from conspicuous perch to take prey on ground, but also sallies in air. Commonly perches in trees, as well as on lower features.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Mar-July. Nest a modest compact cup made of grasses, moss and fine roots, lined with fibrous material, hair, feathers, pine needles and rootlets, usually placed on ground or in hole in bank or wall or amid roots or ferns. Lays 4–6 eggs. incubation is for a period of two weeks; nestling period 13–16 days; post-fledging dependence 3–4 months. The nest is often parasitized by Common Cuckoo.