1245. Erimopterix grisea grisea

(1245) Erimopterix grisea grisea (Scop.).
THE INDIAN ASHY-CROWNED FINCH-LARK.
Pyrrhulauda grisea, Tanna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 353 (part.).
Erimopterix grisea grisea, ibid. vol. viii, p. 664.
Since the 'Fauna’ was written Ticehurst has separated the bird from North-Western India on account of its paler, greyer tint. This greatly reduces the area occupied by the present and typical form. Roughly, it may be said to he resident in India West and South of a line drawn from Baroda South of Indore and Bhopal and thence North to Fategarh and Bareilly. It is also a common resident in Ceylon. East it extends to extreme Eastern Bengal and Western Assam.
This little Lark breeds in almost any kind of open country but never on land with any Jong growth on it. It often makes its nest on absolutely bate ground where no vestige of vegetation grows in the immediate vicinity of the nest. Vidal found it breeding at Ratnagiri on the laterite plateau, where it built its neat on the bare surface of the sheet rock. Sometimes its nest may be situated in fields of quite short grass, often at the foot of some longer tuft of grass or a small bush, at other times with nothing near it but the short grass. In some districts a favourite nesting-site is one in among the stubble in dry paddy-fields where the cover is very scanty. Often the nest is placed in fallow or ploughed land under the partial shelter of a clod of earth. Curious sites are sometimes chosen, such as the roof of a house, as described by Captain Horace Terry, or in between the rails of a railway line, where one was found by Hume at Etawah, and where trains passed many times a day over the head of the sitting bird. Not quite so unusual was another nest found by Anderson made in a hoof-mark in the middle of a pat of cow-dung.
The nest itself is a small shallow cup made of grass but lined with wool, hair, bits of rags and all sorts of oddments. Nests found by Vidal on the laterite near Ratnagiri were “invariably lined with shreds of wool (probably stolen from the blankets of cowherds).”
A very noticeable feature of the nests of this Lark is the little ring of small stones which the birds pile round the nest as a tiny barricade. Sometimes when stones are not available little bits of dry mud are used instead.
The breeding seasons are principally February and March and again July and August, according to Hume. Adams says that in Sambhur the season is from March to August, and at Raipoor Blewitt gives the same months. Burgess, however, says that in Western India this Lark breeds in January and February, while in Poona nests have been taken from December to March, In fact, odd eggs may be found throughout the year but, on the whole, it may be said to be a cold-weather breeder, many birds having a second or even third brood later in the year.
In number the clutch is two or three, though A. J. Currie obtained one of four in Bolaram. They are typical Lark’s eggs, and the chief character which strikes one, when viewing a series, is their rather yellowish tint. The ground varies from white to buffy-white or, less often, greyiah-white or greenish-white. The whole surface is freely speckled with brown, varying from pale sienna-brown to rich red-brown, greyish-brown or blackish-brown. Occasionally one sees capped eggs, but zoned specimens are quite exceptional.
In shape the eggs vary from rather broad ovals to decidedly long ovals, seldom very pointed at the smaller end. The texture is rather finer and closer than in Galerida eggs, but there is no gloss.
One hundred eggs average 19.1 x 13.7 mm. ; maxima 20.2 x 14.5 and 19.8 x 14.7 mm. ; minima 16.0 x 13.2 and 17.0 x 12.5 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1245. Erimopterix grisea grisea
Spp Author: 
Scop.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1245
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
184
Common name: 
Indian Ashy Crowned Finch Lark
M_ID: 
21848
M_CN: 
Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark
M_SN: 
Eremopterix griseus
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14322

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