(854) Phylloscopus collybitus tristis.
The Brown Willow-Warbler.
Phylloscopus tristis Blyth, J. A. S. B., xii, p. 966 (1843) (Calcutta) ; Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 403.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper plumage brown, with a tinge of green when newly moulted, more especially on the rump and wing-coverts; tail-feathers dark brown, edged paler; a narrow pale buff supercilium from the nostrils to the back of the ear-coverts; lores and behind the eye dark brown; sides of the head and whole lower plumage earthy-buff, paler on chin, throat and centre of abdomen; under wing-coverts and axillaries sulphur-yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill dark horny-brown or blackish, paler at base of lower mandible: legs and feet black or dark brown, soles yellowish.
Measurements. Total length about 125 mm.; wing 54 to 65 mm.; tail 43 to 49 mm.; tarsus 19 to 20 mm.; culmen 8 to 9 mm. The female is decidedly smaller than the male. Second primary between 7th and 9th; first primary exceeds primary coverts by 6 to 9 mm.
Distribution. Summer from the Petchora to Japan, South to West Turkestan, the Northern Tian Schan and Lake .Baikal. Wandering West as far as Great Britain in Winter, and South to India over the whole of the North and Central parts as far South as Bombay and Orissa. Records of this and the next bird are mixed and the series in the British Museum show that no reliance can be placed on them, as many specimens named tristis are sindianus and vice versa.
Nidification. The Brown Willow-Warbler breeds from Petchora to Japan, but probably does not breed anywhere in Central Asia, South of the Altai and Lake Baikal. In Japan it breeds in considerable numbers, making a domed grass-nest profusely lined with feathers, which it places on the ground on banks in bush-cover. The eggs, which number four to six, are white spotted and speckled, nowhere densely, with very deep reddish or purplish black. In shape they are short broad ovals. They measure about 15.1 x 12.7 mm.
Reputed eggs in my collection of P. c. tristis, taken in Aksu and Issik Kul in Eastern Turkestan, appear to be those of P. c. sindianus, which they much more nearly resemble in type, having bright red markings.
Habits. Found singly or in small parties in cultivated and well-wooded country, frequenting trees, brushwood and crops. Ticehurst found it catching flies, like a Flycatcher, in reed-beds in the Manchar Lake in Sind, over a mile from land. It arrives in Northern India during the latter part of October, and leaves again in the end of March and early April.