401. Sylvia althaea.
Hume's Lesser White-throated Warbler.
Sylvia affinis, Blyth apud Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 209. Sylvia althaea, Hume, 8. F. vii, p. 60; id. Cat. no. 582 ter; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 450 ; Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 20; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 233.
The Allied Grey Warbler, Jerd.
Coloration. Upper plumage greyish brown, slightly darker on the crown and tinged with brown on the back; tail dark brown, the feathers narrowly margined and increasingly tipped with white from the middle to the outside, the outermost feathers being almost entirely white, only the basal portion of the inner web and the shaft being brown; wings dark brown, edged paler, the tertiaries nearly the colour of the back; lores, round the eye, and the ear-coverts dark brown ; the whole lower plumage pale cineraceous. In summer, judging from a May specimen, the lower plumage is duller.
Iris dark brown ; legs and feet plumbeous black; bill brownish black, slaty-blue at base of lower mandible (Butler).
Length about 6 ; tail 2.5 ; wing 2.6 to 2.8; tarsus .85 ; bill from gape .6. The first primary is .6 to .7 long; second primary generally between sixth and seventh, rarely longer than seventh.
Distribution. A rare winter visitor to the plains of India. It has been obtained at Bahawalpur, Deesa, Jhansi, Ahmednagar, and Belgaum, from all of which places I have examined specimens. It also occurs at Byan Kheyl, in Afghanistan. It breeds in Kashmir at an elevation of 9000 feet.
Legge is of opinion that the Ceylon White-throat may be this species. I have had no opportunity of examining a bird from that island.
It is no easy matter to identify Jerdon's two species of White-throat. His S. affinis, Bl., judging from its rarity and its larger size, is, in my opinion, rightly identified by Seebohm with S. althaea. Hume, however, identifies it with the true S. affinis. On the other hand, he assigns Jerdon's S. curruca, which he (Jerdon) states is common all over India, to the true S. curruca, a bird which is not known to occur in India at all.
If the views of Seebohm and myself are correct, the range of S. althaea extends to the Carnatic and Ceylon, from which places Jerdon records it.