834. Graminicola bengalensis bengalensis

(834) Graminicola bengalensis bengalensis Jerdon.
Graminicola bengalensis bengalensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 433.
In the ‘Fauna’ I gave the type-locality as “Ganges,” where Jerdon “first observed it but did not procure specimens.” He then shot birds in Cachar, and evidently describes the birds from these. The type-locality is, therefore, Cachar.
This Large Grass-Warbler is found in the country covered with high grass in the Nepal Terai and extends East into Assam both North and South of the Brahmapootra. It is possibly also found in the Sub-Himalayan plains of Behar and Bengal in similar country, and certainly occurs in extreme Eastern Bengal in Dacca, Mymensingh and Noakhali, in all of which districts I have seen the birds.
Tytler was the first to have the nest and eggs brought to him, which, though taken by a native, agree exactly with others obtained for me by my collector in Cachar, and are probably correct.
The nest is said to be (Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs,’ vol. i, p. 249) "a rather massive and deep cup, the lower portion prolonged downwards so as to form a short truncated cone. It is fixed between three reeds, is constructed of sedge and vegetable fibre firmly wound together and round the reeds, and is lined with fine grass¬roots. It measures externally 5 inches in height and nearly 4 inches in diameter, measuring outside the reeds which are incorporated in the nest. The cavity is about 2.1/2 inches in diameter and nearly 2 inches deep. It contained four eggs, hard-set ; only one could be preserved, and that was broken in bringing up-country ; so I could not measure it, but the shell was a sort of pale greenish- grey or dull greenish-white, rather thickly but very faintly speckled and spotted with very dull purplish and reddish-brown, with some grey spots intermingled. The nest was obtained between the middle of July and middle of August.”
I found this bird common in the elephant-grass growing in and around the huge swamps in Cachar and Sylhet. For several years I worked these swamps but, though I saw many pairs of birds, I found no nest. Ismail Mia, a collector, when a boy, of Hume’s, worked these same swamps with me, and in 1912 I got a letter from the old man saying he had at last found nests and eggs, which he sent me, taken in July, when he said many birds were breeding, but that it was impossible to get many nests as they were building where the water was too deep to wade and the “ekra” too dense to push the boat through. The nests were replicas of that found by Tytler and reminded me at once of those of Great Reed-Warblers. Two nests were about 4 inches in outward diameter and about 5 inches in depth. In among the grass and reed-leaves used in their construction were strips of reed-bark.
The eggs, two now in my collection and two which I sent to Davidson, could be matched with small eggs of Otocompsa. The ground is white and they are fairly thickly covered, especially at the larger end, with specks and spots of purple-red and deep brown.
My two eggs measure 17.2 x 14.5 and 17.2 x 14.1 mm., and were taken on the 24th July.
The following year Ismail died, so could not fulfil his promise to get me a series.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
834. Graminicola bengalensis bengalensis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Large Grass Warbler
Indian Grassbird
Graminicola bengalensis
Vol. 2

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