(937) Prinia sylvatica sylvatica.
The Jungle Wren-warbler.
Prima sylvatica Jerdon, Madr. Jour L. S., xi, p. 4 (1840) (Seegor, Nilgiris); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 451 (part.).
Vernacular names. Kenda-lotakun-jitta (Tel.); Tot-rungi (Hin. in Cen. India).
Description.— Summer. Above dull earthy-brown, tinged with rufous, more especially on the rump ; wing-feathers dark brown, edged with pale dull rufous-brown ; tail brown, all but the central pair tipped white and with a blackish subterminal patch; the outermost pair almost wholly white on the inner web, intermediate pairs grading; all the feathers faintly cross-rayed ; lores, a short supercilium and round the eye pale fulvous; ear-coverts and cheeks grey and buff; whole lower plumage very pale buff ; axillaries, under wing-coverts and oblique patch on inner webs of quills pinkisk buff.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel; bill in Summer pure black, in Winter horny-brown, paler at the base ; legs and feet fleshy-brown to pale fleshy.
Measurements. Wing 55 to 66 mm.; tail 60 to 75 mm.; tarsus about 20 to 21 mm.; culmen about 12 mm.
In Winter the plumage is a warmer rufous-brown and the lower plumage more ochraceous ; the cheeks and ear-coverts more brown.
Distribution. The whole of India with the exception of Mount Aboo and an unknown extent of area surrounding it. To the North-west as far as the lower Simla Hills and thence to Cutch ; to the East to Assam, Manipur and Lushai Hills.
Nidification. The Jungle Wren-Warbler breeds from June to September, making a deep cup-shaped or domed nest of grasses. The grass used consists principally of green strips torn from the blades but this is mixed with cobwebs, seed-down and other materials. The favourite site is a low thick bush or a tussock of coarse grass in ravines running through grass-lands but they also build in scrub and grass round about villages and adjoining cultivation. The eggs number three to five and the ground-colour varies from almost white to dull pinkish or dull blue-green. The markings consist of minute freckles of reddish, generally sparse over two-thirds of the surface but often coalescing to form a ring or cap at the larger end. In shape they are long oval, obtuse at the smaller end. Fifty eggs average 17.8 x 12.9 mm.: maxima 18.3 x 14.0 mm.; minima 15.8 x 12.0 mm.
Habits. Generally, the habits of this Warbler are typical of the genus but it is, as its name implies, a bird of the uncultivated country rather than of gardens and villages. It does not appear to ascend the hills above 2,000 feet.