Sylvia hortensis Bechst., Gemeinn. Naturg. Deutschl. iv. p. 550 (1795) ; Hewitson, i. p. 128, pl. xxxiv. figs. 3, 4 ; Naumann, ii. p. 478, Taf. 78, fig. 3. Gould, B. of Eur. ii. pl. 121 ; id., B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 62 ; Saunders, p. 49 ; Lilford, iii. p. 54, pl. 27 ; salicaria (Linn.) apud Newton, i. p. 414 ; Dresser, ii. p. 429, pl. 53.
Fauvette des Jardins, French ; Andahuertas, Span. ; Beccafico, Ital. ; Garten-Grasmucke, German ; Tuinfluiter, Dutch ; Haves-mutte, Dan. ; Havesanger, Norweg. ; Tradgdrdssangaren, Swed. ; Lehtokerttu, Finn. ; Ssmorodinka, Russ.
Male ad. (Norway). Upper parts hair-brown, the wings and tail rather darker ; chin, throat and under parts white, the throat, breast, and flanks washed with buff or buffy brown ; under wing-coverts pale buff, bill lead brown, lower mandible reddish white at base ; legs plumbeous ; iris brown. Culmen, 0.45, wing 3.12, tail 2.32, tarsus 0.8 inch. First quill longer than the third, the second longest. The female does not differ perceptibly from the male except in being a trifle paler, and the young are darker above, with a greenish tinge and the under parts are washed with yellowish.
Hab. Europe, north to the Porsanger fiord in Norway, south to the Mediterranean, and Asia as far east as the valley of the Yenesei ; wintering in Africa, as far south as Damaraland and Cape Colony.
Frequents gardens and groves, especially where there is good cover, and is shy and secretive in its habits. Its song is sweet, though wild and irregular, and its call note is a deep harsh tack, tack, tack. It feeds on insects and also on fruit and berries. Its nest is usually placed in a bush or a bramble vine and is lightly constructed of grass-bents and rootlets, inter¬mixed with a little wool and moss, and lined with fine roots and sometimes a little hair. The eggs, 4 or 5 in number, are deposited in May or June and are pale French white with lilac-grey shell-markings and clouded and marbled with olivaceous brown, sometimes also spotted and speckled with dark brown. In size they vary from 0.6 by 0.53 to 0.87 by 0.6. Only one brood is raised in the season.
115. Sylvia hortensis