388. Graminicola bengalensis.
The Large Grass-Warbler.
? Megalurus verreauxi, Tytler, A. M. N. H. (2) xiv, p. 170 (1854) (descr. nulla). Graminicola bengalensis, Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 177 (1863); Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. ii, p. 167; xiv, pt. ii, p. 80; Hume, Cat. no. 642 ; id. S. F. ix, p. 255 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 234; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 249. Drymoica bengalensis (Jerd.), Hume. N. & E. p. 345.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, nape, back, and upper tail-coverts black, each feather edged with tawny fulvous; rump plain tawny fulvous; the feathers of the hind neck black with white margins, forming a collar different in appearance to the back; wing-coverts and quills dark brown, the former very broadly, the latter very narrowly edged with tawny fulvous; tail black, margined with olivaceous, broadly tipped white, and indistinctly cross-barred; lores, a supercilium, and round the eye greyish white; ear-coverts rufescent; sides,of neck, breast and body, thighs, and under tail-coverts ochraceous, the latter with black shaft-streaks.
Legs and feet pale fleshy brown ; bill brown, pale fleshy on basal half of lower mandible; iris reddish brown (Hume).
Length. Wing 2.4 ; tarsus .9 ; bill from gape .7 ; Length in summer about 6.5, of tail 2.8 ; Length in winter about 7, of tail 3.5.
The plumage of this bird is subject to considerable variation, as is the case in all birds that live in reeds and get the margins of their feathers worn away in various degrees regardless of season, sex, or age.
Distribution. Jerdon first observed this bird on the banks of the Ganges, and subsequently in Cachar. It occurs in the Bhutan and Buxa Doars and up the Assam valley to Sadiya. It appears to be common in Sylhet and Cachar, and both Hume and Godwin-Austen procured it in Manipur. In the British Museum there is a specimen from Siam.
Habits, &c. A nest, supposed to be of this species, is said by Hume to be a massive and deep cup, fixed between three reeds, constructed of sedge and vegetable fibre firmly wound together and round the reeds, and lined with fine grass-roots. The egg is said to be a dull green, faintly speckled with dull purplish and reddish brown.