936. Prinia socialis stewarti

(936) Prinia socialis stewarti Blyth.
THE NORTHERN ASHY WREN-WARBLER.
Prinia socialis stewarti, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 531.
The present subspecies of the Ashy Wren-Warbler is found-over the whole of Northern India, East of the Chenab and North, of the arbitrary line drawn as the limit of the preceding bird. It extends East as far as Eastern Assam and Manipur.
There is little that can be written of this race that hag not already been written of the Southern form. It breeds in exactly the same kind of haunts, but is on the whole an even more familiar little bird, breeding freely in gardens. It is found all over the plains and ascends the mountains up to about 3,000 feet and, in Sikkim, has been recorded up to 4,000 feet.
It is just as erratic in its ideas about nest-building as its Southern cousin, and Hume enumerates all the types of nest built by that bird as having been found by himself. The descriptions are too long to quote in extenso, and only repeat the descriptions of nests already given, but one is too unusual to be omitted :—
"Another nest of this Prinia was built in the usual situation in a low herbaceous plant, sewn to and suspended from two leaves, and two or three others worked into the sides. It was constructed almost entirely of grass-roots and fibres, with a few tiny tufts of cotton-wool, and the leaves, as usual, firmly tacked on with threads and cobweb-fibres. It would seem that after constructing the nest, but before laying, a large female spider took possession of the bottom of the nest, and shut herself in by constructing a diaphragm of web horizontally across the nest, thus occupying the whole of the cavity of the nest. The little bird accepted this change of circum¬stances, built the nest a little higher at the sides, and over the spider’s web placed a false bottom of fine grass-roots, on which she laid her four eggs, and on these she was sitting when the nest was taken, the spider alive and apparently happy in the cell below, plainly visible through the interstices of the grass, with a huge sac of eggs which she was incubating.”
The breeding season lasts from the middle of June to the end of August, a few birds only laying in the end of May. They are double brooded and some pairs may have three broods in a season. Hume says :—"They rear usually two broods ; if their eggs are taken they will lay three or four sets ; sometimes they use the same nest twice ; sometimes, directly the first brood is at all able to shift for themselves, the parents leave them in the old nest, and commence building a new one at no great distance.”
The eggs cannot be distinguished from those of the preceding bird.
One hundred average 15.6 x 11.9 mm. : maxima 17.2 x 13.0 and 15.2 x 13.1 mm. ; minima 13.7 x 10.3 mm.
Both sexes take part in incubation but the male probably only sits in the early morning and late evening when the hen is feeding. Both sexes also help to build the nest, the male collecting the material and the female fashioning the nest.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
936. Prinia socialis stewarti
Spp Author: 
Blyth.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
936
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
482
Common name: 
Stewarts Ashy Wren Warbler
M_ID: 
23820
M_SN: 
Prinia socialis stewarti
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
14042

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith