(1136) Emberiza striolata striolata.
The Striolated Bunting.
Fringilla striolata Licht., Verz. Doubl. JMua. Berlin, p. 24 (1823) (Nubia). Emberiza striolata. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 264.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Forehead, crown and nape greyish-white, boldly streaked with black; upper plumage, scapulars and lesser wing-coverts pale rufous-ashy streaked with brown ; tail brown edged with ashy-rufous; shoulder of wing and visible portions of greater secondaries rufous; quills brown, edged with rufous, the rufous increasing in width on the inner primaries and secondaries ; a supercilium whitish; a line behind the eye and the ear-coverts dark brown divided by and followed by a white streak; chin, throat and upper breast greyish-white streaked with black ; lower plumage pale rufous-buff, darker on the flanks, axillaries and under wing-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; upper mandible dark horny-brown, lower mandible fleshy or yellowish-horny; legs and feet flesh-colour or yellowish flesh-colour.
Measurements. Total length about 125 to 130 mm.; wing 69 to 79 mm.; tail 58 to 61 ram.; tarsus 15 to 16 mm.; culmen 9 to 10 mm.
Male after moulting shows a little more pale edging to the feathers of the upper plumage and wings.
Female resembles the male but is decidedly paler and duller.
Distribution. Nubia, Arabia, Palestine and North-West India, Punjab, North-West Frontier Provinces, Sind etc. East to Etawah and South to Saugor in the Central Provinces.
Nidification. Mr. E. E. Kemp took the eggs of this Bunting near Saugor and Col. B. H. Rattray took two more nests in Thull. Both these nests were rough saucers of grass placed on the ground under the shelter of withered bushes in very arid stony hillsides. In one pair of eggs the ground-colour is pinkish, covered everywhere with primary markings of reddish-brown and others, underlying, of pale lavender. In the other pair the ground is white and the superior markings are of dark ochre-brown, whilst the secondary ones are of grey. They measure 20.3 x 15.8, 20.8 x 15.7, 21.3 x 15.3 and 21.0 x 15.5 mm. The first nest was found on the 17th April, the second on the 2nd June. Hume took nests with eggs and young on the 12th and 16th November near Ajmer in similar places and one nest on the 19th in a niche in a stone temple.
Habits. This Bunting is an inhabitant of arid plains and stony bare hillsides and wherever such are the common features of the country, whether surrounding or far removed from human habitations, there it will be found a permanent resident. It is a cheerful, lively little bird, typically Bunting-like in all its ways, feeding on the ground on seeds, grain and berries with a change to insects in the breeding-season. Its voice is sweet but rather feeble and its note can hardly be termed a song.