(838) Chaetornis locustelloides.
The Bristled Grass-Warbler.
Dasyornis locustelloides Blyth, J. A. S. B., xi, p. 602 (1842) (Faridpore). Chaetornis locustelloides. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 388.
Vernacular names. Grenta-pitta (Tel.).
Description. Lores and narrow supercilium fulvous-white; whole upper plumage and wings fulvous-brow u broadly streaked with black; tail grey-brown barred with black, the bars coalescing in the centre and stopping short of the edge ; tips fulvous-white with a broad subterminal black patch; lower plumage pale ochraceous, albescent on the chin, throat and centre of the abdomen.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to deep brown; bill, black in the breeding-season, horny-brown at other times with a fleshy base; legs fleshy-brown to light brown.
Measurements. Total length about 220 mm.; wing 80 to 92 mm.; tail 75 to 95 mm.; tarsus about 28 mm.; culmen about 12 mm.
In Summer the plumage becomes very abraded and dull, the lower plumage becoming almost entirely white.
Distribution. Nellore, Mysore, Deccan, Rajputana, Central Provinces, Punjab, United Provinces, Bengal, Behar and Assam. Jerdon records it from the Nilgiris and there is a specimen in the British Museum marked Darjeeling. It does not occur in the Khasia Hills except at the foot of the Hills in the Plains, certain never occurred as high up as Darjeeling and probably not in the Nilgiris. General Betham found it common in Guzerat. Ticehurst also thought he saw it near Karachi.
Nidification. This bird breeds in some numbers in the great stretches of grass-land in Behar, Eastern Bengal and Assam during July, August and September; General Betham found it breeding at Baroda in August, and Mr A. J. Currie near Lahore in August and September. It makes a fragile domed nest of grass which it places oil the ground among the roots of long grass, very well concealed. The eggs number three to five and are white speckled with primary markings of purplish red and secondary ones of neutral tint. The texture is glossy and the shape broad-ovals. They measure from 19.0 x 14.6 mm. to 22.0 x 15.9 mm.
Habits. Very like those of Megalurus. They frequent great stretches of grass-land, especially such as have a good deal of water lying about. During the breeding-season the male is very conspicuous flying up into the air, singing loudly all the time and then floating round where its mate is sitting in the grass. It feeds both among the shrubs, grass, lower growths and on the ground itself, and is very active on its feet wherever found.