629. Prunella strophiata jerdoni

(629) Prunella strophiata jerdoni (Brooks).
THE WESTERN RUFOUS-BREASTED HEDGE-SPARROW.
Prunella strophiata jerdoni, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 197.
The Western form of this Hedge-Sparrow extends from Afghani¬stan and Baluchistan through Gilgit and the whole of Kashmir in the higher ranges. The birds of the Simla States, if they really ever breed there, would seem to be of this race but, though one or two collectors have recorded the finding of this race in the Garhwal Hills, all the specimens I have seen have been of the darker Eastern race.
Jerdon’s Accentor, as this race has hitherto been called, is not, like the preceding bird, an exclusive frequenter of bare tracts above tree-level, but ranges far lower, well into forested areas at 9,000 feet upwards, for breeding purposes.
B. B. Osmaston thus describes their haunts (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxix, p. 499, 1923) :—“Common in the viburnum, skimmia and juniper scrub, both in the open forest and above the limit of trees from Gulmarg up to about 11,500 feet.
“Nidification commences early in June. Nests are usually built in the dense scrub about 1 to 2 feet from the ground but one nest was found on a fir-bough 7 feet from the ground.
“Nests are built of thin sticks, moss and lichen, lined with fine dry grass, a little hair and feathers. Four, or sometimes only three, eggs are laid, of a uniform blue.”
Later (ibid. vol. xxxi, p. 986, 1927), in his notes on the "Birds of Kashmir,” he adds:—“This is a common bird in silver fir and birch forest from 9000' to 11,000'. Nests are usually placed in low bushes, also not infrequently in the foliage of a lower branch of a silver fir and sometimes as high as 10' from the ground.”
In the Khagan Valley Whitehead took the nest at Sulu Sar, 11,300 feet, with five eggs, on the 28th June.
Ward, who took numerous nests in Kashmir, sent me the following note with a series of nests and eggs :—
‘‘The Hedge-Accentor is quite common is some parts of Kashmir, though nowhere so numerous as the Robin-Accentor. The nest is generally placed in Juniper-scrub but I have also taken it from Pines, in the thickest part of the foliage, near the end of the boughs. It is like the home Hedge-Sparrow’s nest but neater, and moss forms the greater part of the material used, whilst it may be lined with moss, fur, hair or wool, most often with the latter.”
PRUNELLA STROPHIATA JERDONI.
The Western Rufous-breasted Hedge-Sparrow.
(Sonamurg, Kashmir, 1931.)
To the above descriptions of the nests there is little to add, but Davidson took one nest (Ibis, 1898, p. 27) “on a stunted pollard birch tree, about 8 feet up, composed of moss, birch-bark, reed- stalks, lined with hair and a few feathers ; outwardly it was completely covered with pieces of birch-bark and, as it looked exactly like the adjoining bough, it was very difficult to discover.”
The breeding season is from early June to the middle of July, a few birds breeding a little earlier or a little later, but it seems always to be single brooded.
The number of eggs laid varies from three to five, the latter number not being very rare, whilst Buchanan once took six eggs in a nest at Apharwat on the 23rd June.
The eggs are like all other eggs of the genus and forty average 19.05 x 13.8 mm. : maxima 21.1 x 13.0 and 19.9 x 14.6 mm. ; minima 17.3 x 13.3 and 21.1 x 13.0 mm.
As a series the eggs strike one as being more long and narrow than other Prunella eggs.
Davidson says that it is “not a shy bird, hopping about on the ground or low down on the fir-trees within a few yards of the onlooker.”

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: 
629. Prunella strophiata jerdoni
Spp Author: 
Brooks
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
629
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
170
Common name: 
Jerdon's Hedge Sparrow
M_ID: 
30265
M_SN: 
Prunella strophiata jerdoni
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13785

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