199. FANTAIL WARBLER.
Cisticola cursitans (Franklin), P. Z. S. p. 118, 1831 ; Dresser, iii. p. 3, pl. 96 ; (Oates), F. Brit. Ind. Birds, i. p. 374 ; “Salicaria cisticola,” Temm. (Gould), B. of E. pl. 113 : Cisticola cisticola, Sharpe, Cat. B. Brit. Mus. vii. p. 259 ; C. brunneiceps, Temm, and Schlegel, Faun. Jap. Aves. p. 134, pl. 20.
Bec-fin cisticole, French ; Cagachin, Buitron, Span. ; Becca moschino, Ital. ; Cistenrohrsanger, German ; Ghas-ka-phutki, Hind. ; Senniu, Jap.
Male ad. (Corsica). Upper parts wings and middle tail-feathers blackish brown, with rufous buff margins to the feathers, ramp and upper tail-coverts rufous buff, slightly marked with black ; other tail-feathers brown, terminated with black, the lateral ones broadly tipped with white ; under parts white, the breast washed with buff and the flanks with rufous ; bill flesh colour, dark brown along the culmen ; legs pinkish ; iris light yellowish brown. Culmen 0.48, wing 1.9, tail 1.85, tarsus 0.75 inch Female and young similar, but these latter are rather more fluffy in plumage, and the under parts are tinged with buffy yellow.
Hab. Southern Europe, Africa down to the Transvaal, Asia Minor to India, China, and Japan ; the Malayan peninsula and islands.
Frequents grass-covered plains, fields, and localities covered with tangled herbage, both where the soil is wet and dry, and though not shy yet it is hard to dislodge from amongst the dense herbage through which it creeps with ease. It feeds on insects of various kinds, and casts up the indigestible portions in the form of pellets. Its call note is a harsh feck, teck, and its song which is uttered when the bird is perched on an exposed twig or long grass-stern, is poor and of little compass. It breeds from April to October according to locality, and its nest, which is a neat, deep, purse-shaped structure with the opening at the top, is constructed of fine dry grass-bents and rootlets, carefully lined with wool, hair, and fibres, and is attached to grass-stems or twigs, about a foot above the ground. The eggs, 4 or 5 in number, vary considerably, being either pale blue or white spotted with rufous, or occasionally pale pink unspotted. Usually the spots are more numerous at the larger end. In size they average about 0.62 by 0.45.
199. Cisticola cursitans
199. FANTAIL WARBLER.