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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of birds of the family Turdidae of the order Passeriformes. The body length ranges from 12.5 to 20 cm. The genus comprises about ten species, which are distributed in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

There are four species in the USSR: the stonechat (S. torquata), the whinchat (S. rubetra), the pied stonechat (S. caprata), and Hodgson’s stonechat (S. insignis). The stonechat is widely distributed throughout the USSR, inhabiting shrub-filled meadows and forest marshes. The whinchat occurs as far east as Krasnoiarsk and is commonly found in cleared forests and along forest margins. The pied stonechat inhabits the river valleys of southern Middle Asia, while Hodgson’s stonechat lives on mountain meadows of the Sailiugem Range in the Altai Mountains.

Members of the genus Saxicola are migratory. They nest on the ground, beneath shrubs; they sometimes nest in building cracks. The clutch contains four to seven eggs, which are incubated by either the female alone or by both the female and the male. The diet consists of insects.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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