whinchat



whinchat defined in 1930 year

whinchat - Whinchat;
whinchat - Upper parts dusky brown edged with reddish yellow; broad white stripe over the eye;. throat and sides of neck white; neck and breast bright yellowish red; a large white spot on the wings and base of the tail; tip of the tail and the two middle feathers dusky brown; belly and flanks yellowish white. Female: colours duller; white spot on the wing smaller. Length, five inches and a quarter.

Of the three British species forming this group of two genera (Saxicolaand Pratincola) - the fallowchat,stonechat, and whinchat - the last-named is the least striking, whether in appearance or habits. His modest plumage has neither brightness nor strongly contrasted colours; and although he is a frequenter of furze-grown commons, and named on this account furzechat, or whinchat, he is not, like the stonechat, restricted to them. He inhabits both wild and cultivated grounds, rough commons and waste lands, mountain-sides, and meadows and grass fields divided by hedgerows. He roosts, breeds, and obtains most of his food on the ground; but he loves to perch on bushes and low trees, and in most open situations where these grow the whinchat may be met with. On his arrival in April he feeds very much on the fallows, but later, in May, forsakes them for the neighbouring grass fields, where he makes his nest. He is commonly seen perched on the summit of a bush, low tree, or hedgerow, and, like the stonechat, he makes frequent short excursions in pursuit of flying insects. When approached be grows restless on his perch, fans his tail at intervals, and frequently utters his low call or alarm note; then flies away, to perch again at a short distance from the intruder, and flies and perches again, and finally doubles back and returns to the first bpot. Besides the insects he catches flying, he feeds on small beetles, grubs, worms, &c., found about the roots of the grass. He is frequently seen fluttering close to the surface of the tall grass, picking small insects from the leaves, and is most active in seeking his food during the evening twilight.

The whinchat's low warbling song, which has some resemblance to that of the redstart, is mostly heard in the love season, and is uttered both from its perch on the summit of a bush or tree, and when hovering in the air.

The nest is placed on the ground, usually in a cavity under the grass in a field, not far from a hedgerow, or under a thick furze- bush on commons, or at the roots of the heather on moors. It is formed of dry grass and moss, and lined with horsehair and rootlets. Four to six eggs are laid, greenish blue in colour, faintly marked with a zone of brown spots at the larger end.

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