(1233) Mirafra assamica affinis.
The Madras Bush-Lark.
Mirafra affinis Jerdon, Madr. Jour. Lit. & Sci. xiii, pt. 2, p. 136 (1844) (Goomsoor); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 335.
Vernacular names. Eeli-chitta or Eeli-jitia (Tel.); Chirchira (Hind.); Leepee (Cen. lnd.); Gomaritia (Cing.); Vanam padi, Pullu (Tam.).
Description. Above, the prevailing tone is rufous owing to the edging to the leathers being wholly of this colour, so that, compared with either of the preceding fornix, it appears to be a rufous rather than a grey-black bird; below, the colour is a much brighter fulvous.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 79 to 86 mm.; tail 41 to 50 mm.; tarsus 24 to 25 mm.; culmen 13 to 14 mm.
Distribution. Southern India from South Orissa on the East and from Mysore on the West. Ceylon.
Nidification. The Madras Bush-Lark breeds in Southern India from March to May and in Ceylon Messrs. Wait and Phillips have taken or seen eggs in situ in every month from January to September, April to July being the favourite months. The nest is just like that of M. a. assamica but is less often domed. In India two to four eggs are laid, in Ceylon generally two only, sometimes three. They are quite indistinguishable from those of the Bengal Bush-Lark. Fifty eggs average 20.6 x 15.5 mm.: maxima 23.1 X 15.8 and 21.9x16.0 mm.; minima 18.9 X 15.7 and 19.5 x l4.9 mm.
Habits. Those of the species. It is found wherever there are suitable open spaces, whether of dry grass, pasture or cultivation, even in small patches of grass-land surrounded by forest;. It is said sometimes to sing its sweet little song perched quite high up in tall trees.