Bird : Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

Description:- Length 6 inches. Male: Upper plumage rich buff turning to a white patch at the base of the tail; wings black, the feathers margined with white or buff, and with a patch on the inner coverts white ; tail black, the basal half of the feathers white ; a pale buff streak over the eyes ; sides of the head and neck, chin, and throat black, the feathers edged with buff; remainder of lower plumage buff, brightest on the breast. Female : Resembles the male, but is duller and the black is replaced by brown. Field Identification:- typical Wheatear perching on the ground or on low bushes in arid open country; sandy in colour with dark wings, and black throat-patch in male ; a white patch in the base of the tail; flies low and fast over the ground when disturbed. Habits, etc:- This is a true denizen of the desert, being generally distributed and common in the wide arid plains of North-western India, where it prefers the more barren and sandy wastes, though it comes also into cultivation where this is interspersed with barren patches. It is particularly fond of broken ground, either sandy or rocky, and of old cultivation which has reverted to desert. It spends most of its time on the ground, perching on stones and little eminences or on the wild caper bushes and uck plants that are common in the localities it inhabits ; from such spots it hops or flies to the ground to capture beetles and other insects, occasionally darting up into the air to take insects on the wing. It arrives in India later than most of the Wheatears, about the middle of October, and leaves again in February and early March. It flies well but keeps low above the ground and practically never perches on trees.

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