360. Locustella certhiola

360. Locustella certhiola.

Pallas's Grasshopper-Warbler.

Motacilla certhiola, Pal. Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. i, p. 509 (1811). Locustella rubescens, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xiv, p. 582 (1845); id. Cat. p. 182; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 160. Locustella temporalis, Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 160 (1863). Locustella certhiola (Pall.), Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. ii, p. 270; Hume, Cat. no. 521; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 548; Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 114; Oates, S. F. x, p. 216; id. B. B. i, p. 102.
The Buddy Reed- Warbler, Jerd.

Coloration. Head blackish brown, each feather narrowly edged with pale reddish brown; a collar behind the nape reddish brown without marks; this unspotted collar indicates very old birds ; back, scapulars, and wing-coverts dark blackish brown, rather broadly edged with reddish brown ; rump reddish brown, without marks ; upper tail-coverts reddish brown, each feather with a large central drop of black; the outer tail-feathers nearly all black, the rufous margins being small; towards the middle of the tail each pair of rectrices becomes progressively less black and more margined with rufous, and the middle pair are rufous with a broad serrated black shaft-line; all the rectrices tipped with white; eye-streak yellowish white ; ear-coverts hair-brown, and a patch below the ear-coverts yellowish buff; chin, throat, and middle of abdomen whitish; remainder of the underparts delicate buff, becoming darker on the flanks and under tail-coverts; wings brown, the tertiaries edged with whitish, and the other quills with pale rufous-brown.

As a rule, the underparts are quite unmarked ; but in many birds in adult plumage there are a few tiny marks on the feathers of the sides of the breast.

Iris sepia-brown; legs white; bill dark brown; mandible ochraceous (Everett).

The young bird up to October has the whole upper plumage, including the coverts and tertiaries, blackish brown.; the feathers of the head narrowly, and all the others broadly, margined with reddish brown ; rectrices chiefly blackish brown, irregularly margined with rufous-brown, and very broadly terminated with whitish; the lower plumage buff, pale on the throat and upper breast, dark on the lower breast, and increasing in depth of colour down to the tail-coverts; the throat and breast closely spotted with triangular blackish-brown marks; stripe over the eye and a streak from the bill under the cheeks and ear-coverts yellowish buff; ear-coverts hair-brown; under wing-coverts whitish; primaries and secondaries dark brown, narrowly edged with reddish brown.

Birds with the bright yellowish-buff lower plumage are not spotted, and this is probably the stage into which the nestling moults in October or November. In this stage the upper plumage is much brighter, the black centres to the feathers being smaller and the margins larger; the rump is almost unstreaked. The black on the rectrices is less in extent, and the white tips reduced to the same size as in the adult; the eye-streak, the chin, throat, and the whole lower plumage are lively yellowish-buff, becoming deeper and passing into warm ochraceous on the flanks and under tail-coverts. There are no spots, but a few of the feathers on the sides of the neck are obsoletely tipped darker, but so slightly as not to be noticeable without close inspection.

From this stage the bird in spring moults into the full plumage. The summer plumage does not apparently differ from that of winter except in being rather paler below.

Length 5.5 ; tail 2.2 ; wing 2.3; tarsus .85 ; bill from gape .7; the second primary is generally equal to the fourth, but sometimes slightly longer or shorter.

Distribution. A winter visitor to Burma and portions of India. This species does not appear to be rare in some parts of Bengal. It has been procured at Cherra Poonjee, in the Andamans, and in Ceylon. I observed it to be very common in Southern Pegu in the rice-fields near the Pegu Canal from October to December. There is no portion of India and Burma, suited to its Habits, where this bird may not probably be found if looked for. In winter it occurs in China and the Malay Archipelago, and it passes the summer in Northern Asia.

The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.1 1889.
Title in Book: 
360. Locustella certhiola
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Pallass Grasshopper Warbler
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler
Locustella certhiola
Vol. 1

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