925. Suya criniger assamica

(925) Suya Criniger assamica Stuart Baker.
Suya Criniger assamica, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 520.
The dividing lines between assamica, yunnanensus and cooki have not been completely worked out, but this race is found through¬out Assam South of the Brahmapootra and East of the Dibong. It is very common in the Chin Hills and Harington found it breeding freely in Myingyan in the Mandalay district.
In both the North Cachar and Khasia Hills it was an extremely common bird and, in some tracts, it would have been possible to have found a dozen or twenty nests in a morning without trouble. In North Cachar and the Naga Hills it was most common between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, frequenting spaces of comparatively open scrub- and bush-jungle mingled with coarse grass ; lower down, between 2,500 and 4,000 feet, it was more often found in grass-covered plateaus and rolling hills, in which were scattered bushes and odd trees. In the Khasia Hills it was equally plentiful in the immense grass-stretches found between 3,000 feet and the highest peaks. The nests need little description beyond that already given for S. c. Criniger, but nearly all the nests I have seen—many hundreds —were built in grass, while nine out of ten, or more, were domed. In most nests the stems of the grass were incorporated in the materials of the nest, and in some nests the materials were nearly all strips of grass-blades and bents, while in others they consisted of the flowering ends, well bound with stalks of grass and, rarely, fine roots.
A very favourite position was in tufts of grass in bracken growing just outside Pine woods.
The majority of birds breed in April, May and June, but eggs may be taken in almost every month of the year, and many pairs must have three broods. They are very much cuckolded birds, Cuculus canorus bakeri and Cacomantis victimizing Suyas and Cisticolas more than any other fosterers. If the bigger Cuckoo’s egg is hatched, the young Cuckoo takes so long to come to maturity that no more domestic duties can be carried out, but a young Cacomantis is often hatched and reared in time for the Suyas to still bring up a brood of their own.
The normal clutch of eggs is four but from three to seven eggs are laid, though the last number is very rare. The eggs vary to a wonderful extent. The great majority are like those of S. c. Crini¬ger already described, but this type in the present bird does not have the ring so invariably well defined and some eggs are speckled with red freely or lightly all over, with little or no trace of ring or cap.
In other eggs the ground-colour is skim-milk blue, bluish-green, or dull livid green, marked in the same way as the pink and the white types. Occasionally the pale blue clutches of eggs are very faintly marked and I have seen odd eggs quite unmarked. On the other hand, some of the darker greenish eggs are very richly and profusely marked.
Two hundred eggs average 16.7 x 12.8 mm. : maxima 18.3 x 13.3 and 18.0 x 14.1 mm. ; minima 15.6 x 11.9 mm.
Both birds incubate and we caught the male on the nest as often as the female. Both birds also help in building the nest, the male not only bringing the material but also placing it in position. It is, of course, impossible to distinguish the sexes through glasses, but one can often see both working together and both equally fussy and particular as to the adjustment of the various bits of grass.
Incubation takes ten days, judging from the following instances:—
1. Fourth and last egg laid on 3rd May, all four young hatched on evening of 13th May. (2) First egg laid on 13th May, five eggs laid, and all hatched on morning of 28th May. (3) First egg laid on 2nd June, four eggs laid, and all hatched on 16th, dry and looking as if some hours out of the egg.
Both birds feed the young, though the male will sometimes transfer food to the female when she is brooding them.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
925. Suya criniger assamica
Spp Author: 
Stuart baker.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Assam Brown Hill Warbler
Striated Prinia
Prinia crinigera
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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