630. Prunella fulvescens fulvescens

(630) Prunella fulvescens fulvescens (Severtz.).
THE TURKESTAN BROWN HEDGE-SPARROW.
Prunella fulvescens fulvescens, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 198.
The Brown Hedge-Sparrow occurs from Turkestan to Ladak and Tibet. It is a not uncommon breeder in Ladak, where Ward obtained its nest and eggs as long ago as 1906. It is not, however, as common there as in South and South-West Tibet, where it breeds in very great numbers and whence I have had many eggs. sent me by Captains Steen and Kennedy and the many collectors who followed them at Gyantse.
Ludlow gives the following description of its nesting (Ibis, 1928, p. 63):—“This is a resident bird and particularly abundant around Gyantse throughout the year. In Summer the majority seem to leave the plain in order to breed at slightly higher elevations in the side nullahs opening into it. At this time of year it is also found at all elevations between 13,000 and 15,000 feet along the Gyantse Phari road. It breeds in June and July, in wild briar, barberry and Tibetan furze-bushes, making a nest of grass and fibres and lining it with wool, hair, and the cottony growth of plants. Three or four unspotted eggs of the usual Hedge-Sparrow type are laid.”
With various skins, nests and eggs sent me by Macdonald were notes which may be summarized as follows:—The nests are rather bulky for the size of the bird, compact, well-built cups made princi¬pally of coarse grass and moss, but with these are mixed stems of plants, soft pliant twigs, a few dead leaves, mostly willows, and other oddments. Tiny tough twigs of a small thorny shrub are often used. The lining is various and may be of any kind of hair, fur or wool but, probably, the two favourite articles are yaks’ hair and wool. Between this, the true lining, and the nest there is nearly always a layer of fine grass or grass-stems, finer than that used in the body of the nest. It is never placed very high above the ground, seven or eight feet as a limit, and generally only a few inches above it. It may be built in any convenient bush, but brambles and thorny vines are more often used than any other and, next to these, it prefers the common Tibetan thorn-bush. They breed from the first few days of June to the end of July and nests may be taken right up to the end of August. Three is the number of eggs laid most often, but often four and, occasionally, five. These are not to be distinguished in any way from those of other Hedge-Sparrows.
Sixty eggs average 19.5 x 14.3 mm. : maxima 21.3 x 14.9 and 19.4 x 15.1 mm. ; minima 18.3 x 14.0 and 19.1 x 13.3 mm.
The bird is said to be very tame and to sit so close on its nest that often it does not leave until the bush in which it is built is actually touched. Sometimes, so well concealed is the nest, the departure of the bird is the first hint of its existence.
In Turkestan the bird breeds earlier than in Tibet and Ladak and most eggs are said to be taken in the end of May and early June.

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: 
630. Prunella fulvescens fulvescens
Spp Author: 
Severtz.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
630
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
171
Common name: 
Tuekestan Brown Hedge Sparreow
M_ID: 
30271
M_SN: 
Prunella fulvescens fulvescens
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13786

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