(807) Locustella naevia straminea.
The Eastern Grasshopper-Warbler.
Locustella straminea Seebohm, Cat. B. M., v, p. 117 (1873) (Turkestan); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 354.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Whole upper plumage and wing-coverts olive-brown, each feather broadly centred dark brown; wing-quills brown, edged with olive-brown, sometimes slightly tinged with russet; tail brown, tipped and edged with paler olive-brown and obsoletely cross-rayed; lores and short narrow supercilium white; ear-coverts brown, with an occasional black spot or two; below pale buffy-brown; the chin, throat, and centre of abdomen almost white; under tail-coverts broadly centred with black.
Colours of soft parts. Iris light brown; upper mandible dark brown, lower mandible yellowish white or fleshy ; legs and feet fleshy-white to pale fleshy.
Measurements. Total length about 140 mm.; wing 56 to 60 mm.; tail 49 to 53 mm.; tarsus about 15.5 mm.; culmen 11 mm.
Young birds are bright yellow-ochre below and are more olive, less brown in tint above.
The Eastern or Turkestan Grasshopper-Warbler differs from the Western form in being much darker and browner below, and in being decidedly smaller, the latter having a wing of 62 to 67 mm.
Distribution. From the Urals East through Transcaspia, the Caucasus, Turkestan, E. Persian mountains, to the Himalayas as far East as Sikkim. In Winter it is found practically all over Northern India, South to Coimbatore. It is rare in Eastern Bengal and has not yet been obtained in Assam. Ticehurst obtained it in Sind.
Nidification. Very little is known of the nesting of this bird, but it appears to be very similar to that of L. n. naevia, breeding either in the weeds and reeds in or on the edge of water, or in thick grass, weeds and scrub on hill-sides. Two clutches, each of three eggs, taken on the lower Amur and at Kamka-su, Turkestan, have the ground-colour a pale pink, profusely covered with reddish-brown specks and small blotches, in one clutch these being almost confluent everywhere. They measure about 17.5 x 13.6 mm. One nest was taken on the 26th of May, the other on the 5th of June. This bird has been found at an elevation of 15,000 feet in Summer.
Habits. Though nowhere so common in Winter in India as Pallas's and the Streaked Grasshopper-Warblers are in Assam and Burma, where one constantly puts them up when Snipe-shooting, this Warbler visits Western and Northern India in great numbers, arriving about September and leaving again in March and April. In habits it differs in no way from other birds of this genus.