(916) Horornis cantans canturians.
The Chinese Bush-Warbler.
Arundinax canturians Swinh., Ibis, 1860, p. 52 (Amoy). Horornis canturiens. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 438.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Winter. Whole upper plumage and exposed parts of wings and tail russet-brown, brightest on the head and tail; abroad but ill-defined supercilium pale buff; lores mixed buff and brown; a band behind the eye dark brown; cheeks and ear-coverts mixed brown, buff and whitish ; chin, throat and abdomen white or buffy-white deepening to buff on breast, sides or' neck, flanks and under tail-coverts; thighs more grey; under wing-coverts and axillaries white, tinged with buff.
In Summer the supercilium is broader, paler and better defined; the upper plumage is more olive and less russet and the underparts much paler.
This form differs principally from H. c. cantans in being darker and larger.
Colours of soft parts. " Bill wood-brown, with the edge of the upper mandible and the whole of the lower mandible pale flesh-colour ; inside of mouth chrome-yellow; iris hazel; legs pale brownish flesh-colour; claws wood-brown, paling on the soles" (Swinhoe).
Measurements. Total length about 160 to 165 mm.; wing 72 to 76 mm.; tail 62 to 70 mm.; tarsus 29 to 30 mm.; culmen 13 to 14 mm.
The females are very much smaller. Wing 56 to 63 mm. The difference is so great that Swinhoe divided the two sexes into two species C. canturians and C. minuta.
Distribution. Practically the whole of China North in Summer and in Winter South to Formosa, Philippines, twice in Cachar (one, Hume; one, myself).
Nidification. Mr. J. D. La Touche found this bird breeding at Chinkiang in May and early June. The nests are described as "domed with a side, or rather front, entrance. It is made of blades of coarse grasses, bamboo-leaves and a few dead leaves* of oak, etc., while it is lined with fine grass-stems, fine stripped grass-tops and occasionally a few feathers." The nests are apparently built in low bushes. The eggs, four or five in number, are bright terra-cotta or brick-red and are certainly nearer in appearance to the eggs of Cettia than to other eggs of Horornis. Sixty eggs average 19.8 x 14.7 mm.: maxima 20.8 x 15.5 mm.; minima 18.0 x 14.5 mm.
Habits. This is a migratory bird and only a very rare straggler into our limits but one would expect it to occur more often in South Burma. It frequents scrub-jungle and low bushes on the outskirts of forest and is a confirmed skulker, though the male during the breeding-season sings constantly from the topmost twigs of bushes.