(878) Acanthopneuste magnirostris.
The Large-billed Willow-Warbler.
Phylloscopus magnirostris Blyth, J. A. S. B., xii, p. 966 (1843) (Calcutta). Acanthopneuste magnirostris. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 415.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper plumage dark olive-green, the head darker and more grey, the rump rather brighter; wing-feathers brown edged with "bright olive-green and with two yellowish or buffy-white wing-bars formed by the tips of the median and greater coverts; the median bar seldom shows at all within a very short time after the moult; tail brown, edged with green on the outer webs and with narrow white edges to the tips of the inner webs; supercilium yellowish white, broad and well defined; lores and behind the eye dark brown; cheeks and ear-coverts mottled green and yellowish ; lower plumage yellowish white, suffused with olive-grey on the breast and flanks; axillaries and under wing-coverts greyish yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown; bill, upper mandible dark horny with pale yellowish or fleshy edges, lower mandible fleshy-horny with dark tip; legs and feet pale fleshy-plumbeous to deep fleshy.
Measurements. Total length about 130 to 135 mm.; wing 64 to 72 mm.; tail 46 to 53 mm.; tarsus about 19 mm.; culmen 11 to 12 mm.
The second primary is intermediate in length between the seventh and eighth; the first primary is very large.
Distribution. Breeding from Kashmir, Ladak, Tibet to Kansu. In Winter South numerously to Rajputana, Central India, Behar, Bengal, Assam and Burma, less frequently still farther South to Central Burma. Hume records it from Tenasserim, but there are no specimens from that district in his collection.
Nidification. The Large-billed Willow-Warbler breeds in great numbers during the months of June, July and August in South Kashmir, the Murree Hills, Simla States and Garhwal, between 7,500 and 12,000 feet. The nest is a round ball of grass, rather loosely and untidily put together, more or less mixed with moss, roots and stems of maiden-hair fern and lined with grass alone or with a little hair mixed. It is placed on the ground or in a hole in the sloping bank of a ravine or some steep hill-side, a very favourite site being among the roots of a pine or other tree, often well inside a rather deep hole. The eggs, four or five in number, are pure white, rather glossy and bigger than those of any other bird of the genera Phylloscopus and Acanthopneuste. Fifty eggs average 18.2 x 13.2 mm.: maxima 20.0 X 13.9 mm.; minima 16.0 x 13.0 and 17.0 x 12.7 mm.
Habits. The Large-billed Willow-Warbler is essentially a forest-bird, though it prefers such as have open glades and grassy spaces, where it haunts both the lower tangle of jungle and rocks and the higher trees. It has a clear, pretty little song of four notes, constantly repeated and almost more like that of a Robin than that of a Willow-Warbler. It is generally found near streams and ravines through which a certain amount of water trickles. In the Cold Weather it is abundant over the greater part of Northern India and Assam, becoming more rare in Southern India.