(795) Acrocephalus stentoreus brunnescens.
The Indian Great Reed-Warbler.
Agrobates brunnescens Jerd., Madr, Jour. L. 3., x, p. 269 (1839) (Trichinopoly). Acrocephalus stentoreus. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 350.
Vernacular names. Bora-jitti (Tel.).
Description. Upper plumage olive-brown, tinged with rufescent fulvous on rump and upper tail-coverts; wings and tail olive-brown edged with fulvous; a narrow supercilium from the forehead to the eye pale buff; lores and small patch behind the eye brown ; ear-coverts and sides of neck like the back but paler; below fulvous, brighter on flanks, vent and under tail-coverts, albescent on centre of abdomen and almost white on chin, throat and fore-neck; the breast is sometimes a little darker and faintly streaked with brown. This Eastern form differs from typical stentoreus in being darker above and in having a somewhat stouter bill.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellowish brown or light hazel; eyelids plumbeous; mouth orange-yellow; legs plumbeous or plumbeous-horny ; upper mandible dark brown, lower pale yellowish or dusky flesh-colour.
Measurements. Total length about 190 to 200 mm,; wing 83 to 90 mm.; tail about 75 to 80 mm.; tarsus 30 mm.; culmen 17.5 to 19.5 mm.
Distribution. Breeding from Transcaspia, Persia to Kashmir and Garhwal. In Winter wandering into the plains of India as far South as Ceylon and East to Bengal and Behar. The smaller, darker oirds from Burma probably ail belong to the next form.
Nidification. This Reed-Warbler breeds in some numbers in the Kashmir lakes during June, making a typical Reed-Warbler s nest of coarse shreds of rushes bound to three, four or more reeds and lined with finer shreds and bits of grass. The eggs generally number three, sometimes four. In ground-colour they vary from pure white to a yellowish or greyish white, sometimes very strongly tinged with green and they are marked with good-sized irregular blotches of deep blackish brown and sienna-brown; the green eggs also have underlying or secondary marks of lavender and neutral tint. The surface is glossless and rather coarse and the shape a rather long oval. Sixty eggs average 22.7 X 15.9 mm.: maxima 24.3 X 16.1 and 22.4 x 16.7 mm.; minima 21.3 X 15.3 and 23.2 x l5.0 mm.
It is probable that the bird which is resident and breeds in Sind is the next race and not this.
Habits. This form of stentoreus is a true migrant, leaving the plains of India in the end of April and breeding in the Himalayas in the lakes and swamps between 6,000 and 10,000 feet. Though not gregarious, many pairs may be found breeding within a comparatively small area, each, however, keeping strictly to its own particular patch of feeding-ground. They are extremely noisy birds, their loud harsh song being continually repeated from the tops of high reeds in the vicinity of the nest.