Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush         Monticola saxatilis 


  • Monticola : Latin word montis- mountain; cola – inhabitant
  • Saxatilis :Latin word for stone dwelling derived from saxum – stone 

Distribution : Passage Migrant in Ladhak 

Description : Size of 16–19 cm;  wt. of 40–65 g. The male has bright blue with slightly grey-tinged head, upper mantle and throat, with ragged-edged white back patch, brownish-grey wings, rump and central tail, with orange underparts, uppertail-coverts and outer tail. The female is greyish-brown with weak buffish spotting and scaling above, orange-buff with strong grey-brown scaling below, whitish chin and plain orange-buff on vent; tail like the male. The juvenile is like female but more heavily marked above, including broader buff wing fringing. The first-summer male shows traces of scaling above and below.

Habitat: It is found in breeding on wild rocky mountainsides and high hills with scattered shrubs and sporadic grass cover, rocky heaths, extensive limestone screes, lava flows, eroded canyons, crags, open riverbeds, scrubby river gorges, boulder-strewn alpine meadows, upland farmland with stone walls and buildings, rocky ravines and valleys with stunted trees. It is found from 500 m–4000 m.

Food habits:  It eats Invertebrates, mainly insects like crickets, bush-crickets, mole-crickets, damselflies, dragonflies, earwigs, flies, bees, wasps, ants, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, earthworms, molluscs and also  small lizards and frogs and some fruit and berries. It forages, often on grassy patches within rocky terrain, by scanning from perch on rock, roof or tree, then dropping or flying down to ground, taking prey, often searching for further food, then returning to perch. It occasionally sallies after flying insects, and takes fruit direct from tree.

Breeding habits: They  breed  in  Apr–Jun in NW Africa, May–Jun in Europe and end Apr to mid-Jul in Israel; May–Jun in Afghanistan and Pakistan; May to early Aug in Mongolia and May–Jul in China. They are double-brooded in some areas. . The nest is a neat flat cup of coarse grass, rootlets and moss, lined with moss and fine rootlets, placed under rock overhang or in horizontal rock crevice, wall or ruin, sometimes under boulder on steep hillside and occasionally in tree hole. The site often used successively, including from year to year. They lay a clutch of  4–6 eggs. The incubation period is 13–15 days & nestling period is 14–16 days. Post-fledging dependence is 3–4 weeks.