Locustella noevia, (Bodd.) Tabl. Pl. Enl. p. .35, No. 581 (1783) ; Newton, i. p. 384 ; Dresser, ii. p. 611, pl. 91 ; Saunders, p. 89 ; Lilford, iii. p. 44, pl. 22 ; L. locustella, (Lath.) Ind. Orn. ii. p. 515 (1790) ; Seebohm, Cat. B. Br. Mus. v. p. 115 ; (Naumann), iii. p. 701, Taf. 83, figs. 2, 3 ; (Hewitson), i. p. 112, pl. xxxi. fig. 1 ; “ L. avicula Ray,” Gould, B of E. pl. 103 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 78.
Becfin locustelle, French ; Heuschrecken - Sanger German ; Sprinkhaan rietzanger, Dutch ; Buskrorsmutte, Dan. ; Forepaglie macchiettato, Ital. ; Svertschok, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Upper parts olive-brown spotted with blackish brown ; quills and wing-coverts margined with light olive-brown ; tail dark olive-brown, much rounded ; sides of head pale olive-brown ; chin and abdomen white ; throat, breast, and flanks pale olive-brown the former tinged with rufous ; tail-coverts very long, pale brown with dark brown central stripes ; bill dark ; legs pale brown ; iris brown. Culmen 0.55, wing 2.45, tail 2.25, tarsus 0.8 inch ; first primary about equal to the coverts, second and fourth equal, third a trifle longer. Sexes alike. The young has the upper parts more boldly spotted, and the throat and upper breast are finely spotted with dark brown.
Hab. Central and southern Europe, north to Denmark, and, as a straggler to southern Norway and Karelen in Finland, east to Russia, and west to Spain ; breeds in Great Britain and Ireland ; winters in north Africa, and to some extent in south Europe.
Frequents bush-covered localities both in dry and swampy places, and has been found in bush-scrub on sandy, dry hillocks. Extremely shy and unobtrusive, it is not often seen, but is best recognised by its peculiar grasshopper-like note which it utters continually. It feeds on insects of various kinds which it captures either on the wing or amongst the foliage of bushes. Its nest, placed on the ground and carefully concealed amongst the herbage or in tangled brushwood, is cup-shaped, neatly constructed of grass-bents, moss, and a few leaves, and lined with finer bents ; the eggs 5 or 6, rarely 7 in number, are deposited in May, and are rosy white minutely spotted with reddish brown, which in some is generally distributed over the surface of the egg, and in others collected round the larger end ; measure about 0.75 by 0.55. A second brood is generally raised in the season.
186. Locustella nAevia