(931) Prinia gracilis lepida.
The Indian Streaked Wren-Warbler.
Prinia lepida Blyth, J. A. S. B., xiii, p. 376 (1844) (Indus Valley) ; Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 448.
Vernacular names. Khur-phootki (Hind.) ; Door (Sind).
Description. Upper plumage, wings and tail fulvous-brown; the tail cross-rayed with brown, tipped with white and subtipped dusky; the rest of the plumage with the feathers centred dark brown in streaks; lores and round the eye fulvous-white; ear-coverts pale fulvous mottled with brown ; whole lower plumage pale fulvous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellow to tan-brown; bill black in Summer, horny-brown above, fleshy-brown below in Winter; legs and feet pale fleshy.
Measurements. Total length about 135 mm.; wing 42 to 47 mm.; tail 54 to 71 mm.; tarsus about 17 mm.; culmen 8 to 9 mm. The tail is about 10 mm. shorter in Summer than in Winter.
Distribution. Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Sind, Punjab, Rajputana and N.W. Frontier Province.
Nidification. The Indian Streaked Wren-Warbler makes a long, oval domed nest of fine grasses and shreds of grass-blades, sometimes lining it scantily with finer shreds and a little seed-down sometimes making a thick pad of the latter. It is usually placed in tufts of coarse dry grass within one foot to three feet from the ground; occasionally it is placed in small thorny bushes. The nest is built entirely by the female, the male perching on the top of some high grass near the nest and singing loudly whilst she works. They seem to have two breeding-seasons, for Zarudoy took eggs in Baluchistan in March and again in late June. In Lahore, Dodsworth found eggs in March and April, whilst General Betham states that around that town nests were most numerous in July and August. Lindsey-Smith and Pitman took nests at Multan and Dehra Ismail Khan in April and early May. The eggs number four or fixe. The ground-colour varies from almost white to a distinctly warm greenish blue or, less often, cream. In most eggs the whole surface is profusely covered with pale reddish blotches or freckles but in some the markings are more numerous at the larger end, forming a ring or cap and are sparse elsewhere. One hundred eggs average 13.8 x 10.7 mm.: maxima 15.1 xll.4 and 14.1 x 11.8 mm.; minima 11.9 x 9.9 mm.
Habits. This "Warbler keeps entirely to cover, composed either of grass or scrub, though it may also be seen frequenting and hunting for insects in the babool and acacia trees dotted about in among the lower cover. Ticehurst draws attention to the snapping noise made by this bird with its bill, in addition to its constant twitter. This snapping noise seems to be made by all Prinias and, curiously enough, by the birds of the genus Franklinia also.