123. Orphean Warbler.
Sylvia orphea, Temm. Man. d'Orn. p. 107 (1815) ; Hewitson, i. p. 133, pl. xxxv. fig. 3 ; Naumann, ii. p. 445, Taf. 76, figs. 3, 4 ; (Gould), B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 61 ; Newtun, i. p. 423 ; Dresser, ii. p. 411, pl. 64 ; Seebohm. Cat. B. Br. Mus. v. p. 14 ; Saunders, p. 45 ; Lilford, iii. p. 57, pl. 29.
Fauvette orphee, French ; Rosinyol masearat, Span. ; Bigia grossa, Ital.
Male ad. (Spain). Crown and sides of head extending below the eye black, paler on the nape ; upper parts ashy grey with a brownish tinge ; wings blackish brown, externally paler margined ; tail blackish, the external feather white on outer web and along the middle of the inner web ; the next two with an apical white spot ; under parts white, the breast and flanks tinged with vinous grey ; under wing- and tail-coverts and lower flanks pale reddish grey ; upper mandible black, the lower bluish with black tip ; legs brownish plumbeous ; iris bright sulphur yellow. Culmen 0.71, wing 3.1, tail 2.6, tarsus 0.9 inch. The female differs merely in being duller and having less black on the head. The young bird is paler and browner, and has the black on the head replaced by lead grey.
Hab. Southern Europe and North Africa as far north as Luxemburg, and as far east as South Russia and Greece, where it meets the eastern form ; has been twice recorded from England ; winters in Central Africa.
In its habits it is restless and active but somewhat shy. Its food consists chiefly of insects, but it feeds also on berries and fruit. Its song is louder and harsher than that of the Blackcap, consisting both of clear flute-like notes and also harsh ones like those of the Reed-Warbler. It frequents bushes and trees, and breeds late in April or in May, placing its nest on bushes and also on trees at a considerable height above the ground. The nest is composed of coarse bents and plant-stems lined with fine bents and plant cotton, and the eggs, 4 or 5 in number, are white with the faintest sea-green or bluish tinged, spotted and blotched with pale purplish grey shell markings, and blackish or dark-reddish brown surface spots, and in size vary from 0.75 by 0.6 to 0.83 by 0.63.
123. Sylvia orphea
123. Orphean Warbler.