(827) Franklinia gracilis.
Prima gracilis Frank., P.Z S., 1831, p. 119 (Yindhyani Hills). Franklinia gracilis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 376.
Vernacular names. Dao pitti, Dao tisha-pitti (Cachari).
Description. Whole upper plumage dull ashy-grey, tinged with brown on rump and tail; wing-feathers edged with dull pale rufous; tail-feathers tipped with white and sub-tipped with a dark brown patch, more conspicuous from below; lower plumage white with a broad pectoral grey band; flanks, where concealed by the wings, grey ; under wing-coverts white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellowish brown, hazel to blood-red; edges of the eyelids orange; bill black, paler at the base, especially on the lower mandible; legs and feet light horny-brown to orange-brown.
Measurements. Wing 40 to 50 mm.; tail 37 to 50 mm.; tarsus about 20 mm.; culmen about 10 to 11 mm.
Winter. Whole upper surface rufous-brown, more rufous on rump and tail ; a white line over the lores sometimes extending over the eye ; lower plumage dull fulvous-white, often greyish on breast and deeper fulvous on abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Edges of eyelids plumbeous ; bill dark horny-brown, fleshy at. the mouth and base of lower mandible; legs and feet yellowish brown.
Measurements. Tail 40 to 55 mm.
Young birds are like the adult in Winter, but rather paler and have the underparts. yellowish white.
Distribution. Ceylon, all India, excluding Wind and divert Rajputana; Assam, Burma to Tenasserim, Siam and Annam.
Nidification. Franklin's Wren-Warbler breeds from the level of the plains up to about 6,000 feet but generally below 4,000 feet. It makes a nest very like that of the Common Tailor-Bird but very rarely sews it into more than one leaf or places it higher than two or three feet above the ground. As a rule, also, it can be distinguished by the coarser texture of the materials used in its construction. The eggs number three or four and vary m the most extraordinary degree ; they may be pure white, pure bright blue or almost any shade of pinky-white, pale grey-green or greenish blue speckled all over, or blotched or spotted in a ring or cap at the larger end. The spots themselves are nearly always rather light reddish brown, sometimes bright reddish. Four hundred eggs average 14.7 x 11.1 mm., but if measured separately the unspotted eggs average 15.4 x 11.4 and the spotted ones 14.6 x 10.6 mm. The spotless eggs are also much more glossy than the marked ones. The extremes of measurements are: maxima 16.6 x 11.3 and 15.6 x 12.0 mm.; minima 13.8 x 11.0 and 14.1 x 10.2 mm.
Odd nests may be found throughout the year, but the principal Breeding-months in the hills are April to June and in the Plains June to August after the break of the Bains.
Habits. This little Wren-Warbler may be seen in almost any kind of country other than deep or evergreen forest- It is found in gardens and compounds where there are ample bushes as cover; in cultivated country, if well wooded; in grass-land or on the outskirts of forests and in thin bush-jungle. It is a very poor flier, proceeding by curious little jerky flights, the tail flicking over its head and looking as if it would upset it at any moment. On its feet it is quite active both in bushes and in grass, hunting for insects either on these or actually on the ground and very seldom venturing into the higher growths.