(846) Sylvia hortensis crassirostris.
The Eastern Orphean Warbler.
Sylvia crassirostris Cretz., Atlas reis. Rupp., p. 49 (1826) (Nubia). Sylvia jerdoni. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 395.
Vernacular names. Pedda nulla kampa-jitta (Tel.).
Description. Upper parts of head, ear-coverts and nape black; back, scapulars, rump and upper tail-coverts slaty-grey tinged with brown; tail black, the outermost feathers largely white with brown bases, the next pair broadly and the third pair narrowly tipped white; wings dark brown edged with brownish grey, and the innermost secondaries wholly this colour; cheeks and lower plumage white, tinged with pale buffi on the abdomen and vent, and with grey on the flanks.
Colours of soft parts. Iris white to pale yellow ; bill dark horny-black, slaty at the base of the lower mandible; legs and feet slaty-grey.
Measurements. Total length about 175 mm.; wing 77 to 83 mm.; tail 64 to 72 mm,; tarsus 22 to 23 mm.; culmen 16 to 17 mm.
Females have the black of the head replaced by dark grey, the ear-coverts darker; otherwise like the male.
The Eastern Orphean Warbler differs from the Western form in having the head black contrasting with the back, whereas the latter has only the fore-crown black grading into the brown of the back.
Distribution. Greece, Dalmatia and South-East Europe to Palestine, Turkestan, Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and North-West Frontier of India. In Winter over all India as far South as Trichinopoli, and as far East as Chota Nagpore and Barrackpore, where I obtained an adult male.
Nidification. The Eastern Orphean Warbler breeds in some numbers on the N. E. Frontier of India. General Betham took a good many nests at Quetta and Mr. A, E. Jones sent me a clutch of three eggs taken at Cherut. Outside India it breeds from Greece through South-East Europe to Persia, etc. The breeding-months are May and June, possibly April also, as Betham found young hatched early in May. The nest, in India, is a compact well-made cup of grasses, roots and leaves, lined with fine roots and grass-stems, placed low down in thorn-bushes in fairly open country. The eggs number three to five and are greeny-white in ground-colour, speckled and blotched with light grey-brown to almost black with a few underlying ones of pale grey and neutral tint. As a rule, the markings are sparse everywhere but less so at the larger end. Twenty-five Indian-taken eggs average 20.0 x 16.5 mm.; 100 others (Hartert) 20 x 14.9 mm.
Habits. These differ in no way from those of the Garden-Warbler. A rather shy skulking bird, feeding on fruit and insects and with a sweet song.