(923) Suya crinigera crinigera.
The Brown Hill-Warbler.
Suya crinigera Hodgs., As. lies., xix, p. 183 (1886) (Nepal) ; Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 444.
Vernacular names. Suya (Nepal); Dang-prim-pho (Lepcha); Shik-shillik (Bhut.) ; Daotisha-dedao (Cachari).
Description.— Summer. Upper plumage dark brown, each feather edged with olive-fulvous, making the whole of these parts striated; rump and upper tail-coverts without dark centres; tail rufous-brown, obsoletely cross-rayed, tipped whitish and sub-tipped with a blackish patch; wing-quills and greater coverts edged with rufous; lores blackish ; round the eye and upper cheeks and ear-coverts dark brown ; lower cheeks and ear-coverts paler rufous-brown; the whole lower plumage pale fulvous or fulvous-white, the bases of the feathers showing up black on the breast; under wing-coverts and axillaries pinkish rufous, and a broad patch of the same colour on the under aspect of the closed wing, made by the broad rufous edges of the quills.
In Winter the upper plumage is more fulvous-brown, streaked with black; the lores and round the eye are fulvous; the sides of the chin, throat aud breast are irregularly barred or mottled with black.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellow-white to orange; bill black in Summer, dark horny-brown, fleshy below in Winter; legs and feet fleshy-pink or yellowish flesh-colour.
Measurements. Wing 46 to 62 mm., mostly between 55 and 59 mm. -, tail 80 to 116 mm,, about 25 mm. longer in Winter than in Summer; tarsus about 22 mm.; culmen about 11 to 12 mm.
Young. Above fulvous-brown to tawny-brown, the head strongly, the upper back faintly, streaked with darker brown; the whole lower parts fulvous, more rufous on flanks and thighs, whiter tinged with yellow on the centre of the breast and abdomen.
Distribution. From the North - West Frontier, North of Baluchistan, through Kashmir, Murree Hills, Garhwal, Nepal and Sikkim to the Hills of North-West Assam.
Nidification. The Brown Hill-Warbler breeds between 3,000-and 7,000 feet elevation throughout the Himalayas, but is much more abundant in the East than in the West. During May, June, July, it constructs an oval domed nest of fine grasses and shreds of grass-blades, placing it in coarse grass, to the stems of which it is attached, in weeds, or, very rarely, in a low bush. Unlike the eggs of S. c. assamica, which vary greatly in colour and description, the eggs of this bird seem to vary in groundcolour only from white to pale pink; the markings consist of small reddish blotches, sometimes scattered over the whole surface, sometimes only in a ring or cap at the broader end and ranging from pale chestnut-red to deep brownish red. Fifty eggs average 17.3 x 12.7 mm.: maxima 19.0 x 12.6 and 17.3x 13.4 mm.; minima 15.9 x 12.2 mm.
Habits. Keeps almost entirely to grass and scrub-jungle, though it may be found in among the bushes and bracken at the edge of evergreen forest or even in small open spaces inside both Evergreen and Pine forests. It is an active little bird on its legs, clambering with great quickness in and out of the grass-stems and reeds but its flight is very weak and ill-sustained and, like the birds of the genera Orthotomus and Franklinia, it always looks as if it was going to tumble down when it tries a flight of any distance.