390. Schoenicola platyura.
The Broad-tailed Grass-Warbler.
Thimalia platyura, Jerd. Madr. Journ. L. S. xiii, p. 170 (1844). Schoenicola platyura (Jerd.), Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 73; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 37; id. Cat. no. 442 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 532; Brooks, S. F. ix, p. 209; Hume, S. F. ix, pp. 211, 234; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 401; Davison, S. F. x, p. 383 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 110 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 183 ; Macgregor, S. F. x, p. 438 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 251.
The Broad-tailed Reed-bird, Jerd.
Coloration. In summer, the lores and a short indistinct supercilium whitish ; chin, throat, and middle of abdomen pure white ; remainder of the lower plumage rich ochraceous brown; the under tail-coverts dark brown, tipped with dull white; the whole upper plumage, sides of the head, and neck rich brown tinged with rufous, brighter on the edges of the quills and coverts; the back, rump, upper tail-coverts, and tertiaries indistinctly cross-rayed; tail brown, distinctly cross-barred, darker and obsoletely tipped pale.
In winter, the lores and a rather indistinct supercilium, cheeks, and the whole lower plumage soft ochraceous white, more pronounced across the breast and on the flanks ; under tail-coverts dark ochraceous, tipped with dull white; sides of the head and neck and the whole upper plumage fulvous-brown, the edges of the quills and coverts brighter ; the back, rump, upper tail-coverts, and tertiaries cross-rayed when viewed in a good light; tail brown, distinctly cross-barred darker, and all the feathers tipped with dull white.
Iris olive-brown; legs and feet brown in front, pale whitish flesh-colour behind and on the soles ; bill black above, pale horny blue below; gape black. In the female the legs and feet are fleshy brown and paler than in the male; the bill is brown above, fleshy below, and the mouth is not black inside (Butler, August and September).
Iris pale clay-brown; bill above plumbeous, below pale horny white; legs, feet, and claws pale brownish (Bourdillon, April).
Length. In winter the Length is about 7; tail 2.8 ; wing 2.7 ; tarsus .85 ; bill from gape .65. In summer plumage the tail is slightly shorter than in winter plumage, and measures about 2.5.
Distribution. The western coast of India from Belgaum to Travancore, and Ceylon. This bird is a permanent resident, and inhabits both the hills and the lower levels.
Habits, &c. Breeds near Belgaum in September. The nest, which is a mere ball of grass with an entrance on one side, is built in a tussock of grass close to the ground. The eggs, four in number, are white spotted with brownish red, and one egg measured .73 by .6.