381. Cisticola cursitans.
The Rufous Fantail-Warbler.
Sylvia cisticola, Temm. Man. d'Orn. 2 ed. i, p. 228, pl. (1820); id. Pt. Col. pl. 6, fig. 3 (1820). Prinia cursitans, Frankl. P. Z. S. 1831, p. 118. Cisticola schoenicola, Bp. Comp. List B. Eur. & N. Amer. p. 12 (1838); Blyth, Cat. p. 145; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 174; Hume, N. & E. p. 343; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. ii, pl. x, fig. 2. Cisticola omalura, Blyth, Cat. p. 145; id. J. A. S. B. xx, p. 176 (1851). Cisticola homalura, Hume, S. F. v, pp. 90, 350; id. Cat. no. 541 bis. Cisticola cursitans (Frankl.), Blyth, Cat. p. 145; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 324; Hume, S. F, v, p. 90; id. Cat. no. 539; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 531; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 217; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 230. Cisticola manipurensis, Godw.-Aust. P. Z. S. 1874, p. 47; id. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. ii, p. 165, pl. ix, fig. 1; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 397, v, p. 90 ; id. Cvt. no. 539 bis. Cisticola cisticola (Temm.), Oates, B. B. i, p. 115; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 259.
The Rufous Grass-Warbler, Jerd.; Ghas ka-phutki or Ghas ka-pit-pitti, Hind.; Yedru-jitta, Tel.; Kher-ghusa, H. at Bhagulpore ; Tuntunia, at Monghyr.
Coloration. In summer the whole upper plumage is dark brown or black, with rufous margins to all the feathers; rump plain rufous; wings and coverts dark brown, edged with fulvous ; tail brown, edged with rufous, broadly tipped white, subterminally deep black, and with a rufous patch in front of this black; lores, supercilium, cheeks, and the whole lower plumage buffy white; ear-coverts brownish.
In winter the plumage is practically the same as in summer, but the tail is without the rufous patches above the subterminal black spots.
Iris light yellowish brown; bill flesh-coloured, dark along the culmen: legs and claws pinkish; mouth black at the breeding-season, dusky at other times.
Length In summer the Length is about 4.5; tail 1.5; wing 2.1; tarsus .8; bill from gape .6 ; in winter the tail measures 1-75, and the total Length is correspondingly increased.
Distribution. Every portion of the Empire and Ceylon where the country is suitable, but not on hills at any great elevation. Outside our limits this bird has an immense range in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Habits, &c. This species frequents corn-fields and grass-land, and is everywhere abundant in such surroundings. It has a sharp clear note, mostly uttered while the bird is soaring in the air, which it frequently does, rising from one clump of grass and descending to another. It breeds from April to October, constructing a deep tubular nest in a clump of grass, to the stems of which the structure is attached. The nest is made of fine grass chiefly, to which are added cobwebs and vegetable down. The eggs, usually five in number, are white, or tinged with green, speckled with red and purple, and measure .59 by .46.