380. Cisticola volitans.
The Golden-headed Fantail-Warbler.
Calamanthella volitans, Swinh. Journ. N. China As. Soc. 1859, p. 226. Cisticola volitans (Swinh.), Oates, S. F. x, p. 219; Oates in Hume's N. 8c F. 2nd ed. i, p. 236. Cisticola exilis, Vig. & Horsf., Oates, B. B. i, p. 117; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 269 (part.).
Coloration. Male. In summer the forehead, crown, and nape are golden yellow; the hind neck duller, tinged with brown, and separated from the nape by a dusky band; back ashy, streaked with black ; rump and upper tail-coverts fulvous-yellow; tail black, tipped with dull white; wings and coverts dark brown, edged with fulvous; sides of the head and the whole lower plumage pale fulvous or yellowish buff; the abdomen whitish.
Female. In summer resembles the male in summer, but the forehead and crown are dusky golden yellow streaked with dark brown; the hind neck and sides of the neck dull golden yellow, without streaks, forming a more or less uniform collar; tail black, edged with olive-brown and tipped with dull rufous-white, and with a subterminal black band when viewed from below.
The winter plumage of the Burmese bird is not known. It will probably be blackish above, and similar in general to that of C. tytleri.
Iris hazel-brown; upper mandible dark brown; lower mandible and gape fleshy pink ; legs and claws flesh-colour.
Length In summer the Length is about 4; the tail 1.25; wing 1.8; tarsus .75; bill .5. The total Length and the Length of the tail in winter are not known.
I provisionally identify the Burmese bird with Swinhoe's C. volitans, but I am not satisfied that the two are absolutely identical, nor that the Burmese and Chinese bird, or either of them, if distinct, extends down to Australia. The series from each country is at present inadequate for a correct opinion to be arrived at.
Distribution. Southern Pegu, along the grassy- jungles on both sides of the Pegu Canal from one lock to the other, but most common where the soil is sandy and suitable for the growth of thatch-grass.
Habits, &c. Similar to those of C. cursitans, but the present species has a more musical and bell-like note. It breeds in May and June and probably throughout the rains, constructing a beautiful nest, composed entirely of the flowering heads of grass, and attached to several stalks of grass growing in a thick clump. The eggs are a pale blue spotted with rusty brown, and measure .55 by .43.