Locustella fluviatilis (Wolf.) Taschenb. Deutsch. Vogelk. i. p. 229 (1810) ; (Naumann), iii. p. 694 ; Taf. 83, fig. 1 ; Gould, B. of Eur. ii. pl. 102 ; Dresser, ii. p. 621, pl. 92, fig. 1 ; Seebohm, Cat. B. Br. Mus. v. p. 110.
Bec-fin riverain, French ; Fluss-sanger, German ; Polussolovei, Sarantscha, Russ. ; Virtakerttu, Finn. ; Strumeniovka, Polish.
Male ad. (Silesia). Upper parts wings and tail uniform dark olive-brown, sides of head paler, tail tinged with rufous ; an indistinct light mark passing through and behind the eye ; under parts white, the breast and lower throat striped with brown ; under tail-coverts pale brown, with broad white tips ; bill horn-brown, lower mandible yellowish at the base ; legs dull flesh ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.52, wing 2.9, tail 2.5, tarsus 0.85 inch ; first quill 0.2 shorter than the coverts, second and third nearly equal and longest. The young bird has the upper parts more rusty in tinge, the under parts tinged with ochreous, and the throat is also indistinctly striped.
Hab. Eastern Germany, Austria, and Hungary ; Russia as far north as Central Finland, and about 60° N. Lat., in the Ural ; wintering in Asia Minor, Palestine, and N. Africa.
Unlike the Grasshopper-Warbler the River-Warbler is more frequently to be met with in wooded districts than in marshes, and frequents thickets and meadows in the midst of large conifer woods, beech thickets, and pastures dotted with scat¬tered bushes. Shy and secretive it usually seeks safety by dodging about amongst the rank herbage. Its call-note is low and harsh, and its cicada-like song which though usually commenced on the ground is continued from the top of a bush, is like the syllables zi, zi, zi, repeated for some time, and though not unlike that of the Grasshopper-Warbler may be distinguished by a practised ear. Its nest, which is placed on, or nearly on the ground amongst grass and brambles, in the woods, not in marshy places, is constructed of dry grass and leaves, lined with liner grass-bents and rootlets, and the eggs, usually 5 in number, are deposited late in May or in June, and are white minutely spotted with greyish lilac underlying shell-markings, and dark reddish-brown surface-spots or dots, and in size average about 0.78 by 0.54.
192. Locustella fluviatilis