(825) Cisticola juncidis cursitans.
The Streaked Fantail-Warbler.
Prima cursitans Frankl., P. Z. S , 1831, p. 118 (Calcutta, Benares). Cisticola cursitans. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 374.
Vernacular names. Nok-a-chip-hang-pen (Siam); Nat-pi-lisot (Burmese). Ghaska-phutki or Ghaska-pitpitti (Him.); Khergusa (Him., Bhagulpore); Tuntunia (Monghye); Yedru-jitta (Tel.).
Description. Head, back, scapulars, upper tad-coverts and lesser wing-coverts black, with broad rufous-fulvous edges, remaining wing-feathers dark brown with fulvous edges; rump plain rufous ; tail blackish brown, edged with rufous, tipped broadly with white and sub-tipped deep black, the lateral leathers with a broad rufous parch; ear-coverts pale brown ; lores and faint supercilium buffy-white ; whole lower plumage white suffused with buff, more rufous on the flanks.
The head during Summer is often so abraded as to look almost wholly dark brown, whilst in "Winter there are no rufous patches to the tail.
Colours of soft parts. Iris tan-yellow; bill dark on culmen and tip, horny-fleshy elsewhere, mouth black in the breeding-season, plumbeous-grey m Winter; legs and feet yellowish-fleshy.
Measurements. Wing 46 to 53 mm.; tail in Summer 31 to 35 mm., in Winter 36 to 39 mm.; tarsus 20 mm.; culmen 10 mm.
Young like the adult but the underparts very yellow.
Distribution. Practically the whole of India, Assam, Burma,, Siam and Yunnan.
Nidification. The Streaked Fantail-Warbler breeds both in the plains and in the hills up to about 6,000 feet or a little over. In the plains of India, Burma and Siam it breeds most often on the borders of rice-cultivation in grass growing on the dividing banks or in adjoining fields. In the hills it breeds in the great stretches of rolling grass-land which cover so large a portion of their surface. The nests vary a good deal; most are little egg-shaped affairs with the entrance close to or actually at the top; other nests are long deep purses, the upper entrance-end being the narrower. Less common than either of these are small cup-shaped nests with a canopy of living grass woven above them. The nests are almost invariably built in tufts of grass and, often, the grass-blades are incorporated, as they grow, into the nest itself together with other strips of grass. In each type of nest cobwebs are largely used to strengthen the structure and the lining is of soft vegetable-down or feathery grass-ends. Normally the eggs number three to five, exceptionally six or seven. In ground-colour 9 out of 10 eggs are pure white, in a few tinged with blue and, in fewer still, a definite pale blue, never so deep as in the eggs of the C. exilis¬ group. The markings consist of specks and spots of reddish brown, generally most numerous at the larger end, whore they may form a ring or cup. Siamese birds have eggs more boldly and richly marked than those of Indian birds. Four hundred eggs average 15.0 x 11.5 mm.: maxima 16.8 x l0.9 nun. and 16.6 x l2.3 mm.; minima 13.8 X 11.2 and 13.9 x 10.2 mm.
The principal breeding-months are after the Rains break in June until September, but m Assam, where the rains are more constant, they breed horn April to July though an odd nest or two may be found with eggs any month of the year.
Habits. Very like those of C. e. tytleri but the voice is quite different, a sharp vibrant note, generally uttered as the bird rises into the air and a low sibilant call used when a pair or family of birds are separated. It does not breed in colonies but often many pairs may be found breeding close to one another. It has a habit of soaring up into the air some twenty or thirty feet in the breeding-season, uttering its sharp cry as it leaves the shelter of the grass. Its flight is not as direct or strong as that of C. e. erythrocephala, though otherwise very like it.