(832) Laticilla burnesi.
The Long-tailed Grass-Warbler,
Eurycercus burnesi Blyth, J. A. S. B., xiii, p. 374 (1844) (Upper Sind). Laticilla burnesi. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 380.
Vernacular names. Hedela (Sind).
Description. Lores, a ring round the eye and fine supercilium pale grey; forehead, crown, nape and neck rufescent-grey changing to rufous-brown on the back and scapulars, each feather with a broad black mesial streak; lower back, ramp and upper tail-coverts grey-brown, the first with faint dark centres; tail rufescent olive-brown, faintly cross-rayed darker; the lateral feathers with pale rufescent tips; sides of the head and cheeks white, streaked with blackish ; wing-coverts olive grey-brown with darker centres; quills brown with pale edges; lower plumage white, changing to fulvous on the abdomen and Hanks and the latter streaked with blackish; under tail-coverts deep rufous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris tan-brown or brown; bill pale horny, fleshy on the lower mandible ; legs and feet pale brown.
Measurements. Wing 53 to 57 nun.; tail 85 to 108mm.; tarsus 20 to 21mm. : culmen 10 to 11 mm.
Young. All pale grey-brown above with only faint central streaks ; below pale fulvous with no streaks on flanks ; under tail-coverts pale rufous.
Distribution. Sind, Rajputana, Punjab, United Provinces and extreme Western Bengal, where it has been obtained in Monghyr.
Nidification. The Long-tailed Grass-Warbler has been found breeding in Sind from March to September (Doig) and in February, April and May (T. R. Bell). Major J. Lindsey-Smith obtained nests near Multan in May and General R. M. Betham took eggs both at Ferozepore and Lahore in September. The nests are described as substantial well-made cups of grass and tamarisk-twigs, lined with the same or with down and a feather or two, placed well inside thick tufts of grass a lew inches from the ground. The sites selected are in grass-land or in low scrub and grass mixed. The full complement of eggs seems to be three or four, but the birds desert on the slightest provocation and it is, therefore, difficult to obtain full clutches. The ground-colour is white or pale greenish white, and they are thickly speckled and spotted with dark reddish brown, profuse everywhere but even more so at the larger end. In shape they are blunt ovals and twenty eggs average 17.9 x 14.2 mm.: maxima 19.1 x 14.6 ; minima 16.2 x 13.8 and 17.1 x 13.3 mm.
Habits. This Warbler is only found in the vicinity of the larger rivers and their tributaries running through rather bare country, or even in deserts or sandy wastes with a little scrub aud "sarpat grass " in patches here and there. It is a skulking little bird but during the breeding-season it has a joyous song much like that of a Hedge-sparrow which gives away its hiding-places as well as the site of its nest.