Common Stonechat

Common Stonechat  Saxicola torquatus indicus

Etymology :

  • Saxicola : Latin word saxum – stone; cola- dweller { Stone dweller}
  • Torquatus : Latin word for “Collared” derived from torques – collar
  • Indicus : From India

Also known as Siberian Stone chat

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Kharpidda, Sans: Patti-kantha shup-ashvak, Kash: Dofa tiriv, Pun: Lal galri, Munda: Rab tine, Guj: Mendio piddo, Mar: Samanya Gappidas, Te: Adavi-kampa-nalanchi, Adavi-kampa jitta, Kan: Beli chataka

Distribution in India: Passage migrant in North West and winter visitor in Main land India.

Description: Size of 12-13 cm. Male has black hood linking down nape to black back and wings, with broad white lateral neck patch , large white wing patch, white rump and upper tail-coverts; breast and flanks rufous-chestnut, belly to under tail-coverts paler to white; in fresh plumage, browner above, white collar reduced, underparts more extensively rufous-chestnut; bill and legs black. Female is buff-streaked dark brown above, with indistinct pale supercilium, smaller white wing patch, white upper tail-coverts, grey-brown throat, paler rufous-orange breast and flanks shading to whitish on belly to vent; in fresh plumage similar, but with buff edging above, throat paler. Race indicus is smaller, with less white on rump (Himalayas from Kashmir E to NE India) ; race przewalskii is largest, black of throat extending to upper breast, breast richer chestnut ( also known as Tibetan Stonechat North East India)

Habitat:  It is found in stony barren ground and alpine meadows with scattered rhododendron and juniper bushes. It breeds at 700–3000 m; in winter in open country, fallow land, high grass, reedy wetland margins, cultivated terraces, pastures and scrubby hillsides, mangroves and sea-holly patches along tidal creeks.

Food Habits: It eats Almost entirely invertebrates, mainly small or medium-sized insects and their larvae; occasionally small vertebrates, seeds and fruit.

Breeding Habits: They breed in April- June and usually two broods per season. Nest a loose deep cup of rootlets, grass, leaves and plant stems, lined with finer rootlets and sometimes hair, wool and feathers, placed on ground or in low bank, well-hidden at base of tuft of herbage or in bottom of or under small bush, in Himalayas a pad of grass, hair and wool placed in hole in earth bank or under stone, often in pile of stones marking field boundaries. A clutch of normally 4–6 eggs laid, incubation is for a period of two weeks; nestling period 13–16 days; post-fledging dependence 3–4 months