(836) Megalurus palustris.
The Striated Marsh-Warbler.
Megalurus palustris Horsf., Trans. Linn. Soc, xiii, p. 159 (1820) (Java); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 383.
Vernacular names. Ial-aggin (Hind.) ; Nal-claypee (Assam).
Description. Whole upper plumage bright fulvous, the head more rufous, streaked with black, narrowly on the head, neck, lower back and rump, broadly and very boldly on the upper back, scapulars, wing-coverts and inner secondaries; tail fulvous-olive with dark centres and very faintly cross-rayed ; primaries brown edged with fulvous ; lores and a supercilium white ; remainder of lower plumage pale earthy-brown, albescent on the centre of the breast and abdomen, darker on the flanks; a few blackish streaks at the base of the fore-neck, sometimes extending on to the breast and flanks ; under tail-coverts fulvous-brown, streaked with dark brown.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellow-tan to pale brown ; bill above dark horny-brown, below fleshy or yellowish-horny; legs pale yellowish or pinkish flesh-colour.
Measurements. Total length about 250 to 260 mm.; wing 100 to 137 mm. 82 to 86 mm.; tail 115 to 134 mm. 84 to 102 mm.; tarsus 39 mm.; 35 mm.; culmen 18 to 19 mm. 17 mm.
Young are more rufous above and are strongly suffused with yellow below.
Distribution. From Hoshangabad on the West, through Central India to Orissa and Bengal, rare in South-West Behar; common in Assam ; the greater part of Burma in suitable places from the Chin and Kachin Hills to Tenasserim in the South,. Siam, Shan States, Yunnan, Annam and Java.
Nidification. In Assam and Northern Burma the Striated Marsh-Warbler breeds from the end of April throughout May, but in Siam Mr. E. G. Herbert found them breeding principally in June and July. They make a large globular nest of grass,, sometimes with a few bamboo-leaves added, very roughly and loosely put together and placed in any tangle of weeds, grass, or bushes overgrown with grass and weeds. In Lakhimpur, in Assam, a favourite site was a pineapple-plant overgrown with weeds and grass. The eggs number three or four, sometimes five in Siam ; in ground-colour they are white or very pale creamy or greyish, rather densely spotted and speckled all over with dark brown and with secondary marks of lavender giving a grey tinge to the eggs. Fifty eggs average 22.8 x 16.8 mm.: maxima 25.3 x 18.0 mm ; minima 20.0 X 15.4 and 21.0 x 15.3 mm.
Habits. The Striated Marsh-Warbler is found in open grasslands or in the vicinity of villages and habitations in cultivated and semi-cultivated lauds. In Assam it is a bold bird, quite unheeding of all passers by but in Siam it is said to be very shy.. It has a loud shrill song during the breeding-season which it utters in the air, constantly soaring up for some twenty to forty feet and then gliding down again to some bush * or other perch near where the hen is sitting. Forrest obtained it at 5,400 feet. in Yunnan and Harington, Hopwood and others found it breeding at nearly this elevation in N. Burma.