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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Thrushes/Turdidae

Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush/Monticola saxatilis - Male

L 17-20 cm. Breeds on steep, dry, rocky mountain slopes or higher-lying alpine meadows. Found above 1500 m (odd exceptions). and thus usually chooses higher sites than Blue Rock Thrush. Summer visitor (mostly Mar/Apr-Sep), winters S of Sahara. Shy. Food insects, plant matter, small lizards. Nests in rock cavity, under boulder or in ground.
IDENTIFICATION: male in spring unmistakable (but garish colours remarkably camouflaged in strong mountain light). male winter plus female and immatures all similar, more anonymous, brownish and densely vermiculated dark, told by short rusty-red tail, stocky build and rather long bill; males often revealed by intimation of pure white spotting on back (female at the most buffish-white) and touch of blue-grey on crown and throat.
VOICE: Call a short, squeaky ‘viht’; also a clicking ‘chak’. Song, sometimes in undulating song-flight with terminal glide, a soft, clear and melodic verse (with melancholy basic tone) which often drops in pitch; at distance can recall both Redwing and Blackbird; like Blue Rock Thrush’s, but is softer and not quite so melancholy in tone.

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