(1024) Uroloncha striata acuticauda.
Munia acuticauda Hodgs., As. Res., xix, p. 153 (1836) (Nepal). Uroloncha acuticauda. Blanf. & Oates. ii, p. 184.
Vernacular names. Samprek-pho (Lepcha); Namprek (Bhutea); Dao-muni (Cachari).
Description. Forehead, face, chin and upper throat black -upper rump white; remainder of upper plumage chocolate-brown', the feathers with pale fulvous shafts; tail black; wing-coverts dark chocolate-brown with pale shafts; greater coverts and quills blackish; sides of the neck rufous with paler edges and shafts; lower throat and upper breast chocolate with fine shaft-lines and rufous edges, often obsolete on the breast and very definite on the sides of the neck; abdomen, flanks and lower breast fulvous or greyish white very faintly streaked with black; posterior flanks, vent and under tail-coverts chocolate with fulvous striae.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown ; bill dark plumbeous, the culmen almost black ; legs and feet light to dark plumbeous.
Measurements. Wing 49 to 53 mm.; tail 40 to 46 ram.; tarsus 14 to 15 mm.; culmen 10.0 to 11.5 mm.
Distribution. The Himalayan Terai and Sub-Himalayan ranges from Garhwal to Eastern Assam, Bihar and Eastern Bengal, Southern Shan States, Northern Burma and Northern Siam.
This and the two succeeding forms can be distinguished from the preceding three by their striated lower plumage, as well as by the minor differences shown in the description given above.
Nidification. Hodgson's Munia breeds throughout the lower ranges of the Himalayas up to at least 6,000 feet, most commonly perhaps between 2,000 and 4,000 feet. It frequents forests for breeding purposes and is rare in cultivated areas or round villages. The nest is generally placed on the edge of some glade or river opening but sometimes far inside evergreen jungle. It is of the usual description but is made almost entirely of very fine grass stems and has no lining. It may measure anything from six inches to a foot either way, is very untidy and the grass ends often project round the mouth so as to form a short rough tunnel. There is never any attempt at concealment and both birds go in and out of the nest whilst one is standing close by. They obtain the grass or grass bark by nipping the blade or leaf at the bottom, seizing the small projecting piece and then, flying upwards, strip or tear off a long piece. Eggs and young may be found throughout the year but May and June are certainly the favourite laying months, many birds having second broods in July and August. They lay four to eight eggs and 100 average 15.3 x 10.9 mm.: maxima 16.9 X 11.0 and 15.5 x 11.5 mm.; minima 13.1 x 10.4 and 14.5 x 9.9 mm.
Habits. A cheerful sprightly little bird, yet one of the wilds rather than of civilization. In summer it keeps to the mountains and the broken country adjoining but in Winter is found far into the Plains of Assam and Bengal. They keep in small family parties of half-a-dozen to double that number and all feed close together on grass seed, berries and grain. When not breeding the nest is often used as a roosting-home by the whole family, sometimes a very tight squeeze. The flight is direct and very strong for so small a bird but is seldom long sustained.