(849) Sylvia curruca affinis.
The Indian Lessee White-throat.
Curruca affinis Blyth, J. A. S. B., xiv, p. 504 (1345) (South India). Sylvia affinis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 397.
Vernacular names. Chinna nalla kampa-jitta (Tel.).
Description. Similar to S. althaea but with the upper plumage earthy-brown, the forehead and crown rather more grey.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellow to yellow-brown; bill horny-brown, paler below and at the base; legs and feet pale to dark plumbeous.
Measurements. Length about 140 mm.; wing 61 to 67 mm.; tail 51 to 57 mm.; tarsus about 21 mm.; culmen 10 to 11 mm. The second primary between 6th and 7th.
Distribution. West Siberia to Transbaikalia and Manchuria and South to Baluchistan, Kashmir and Garhwal. In Winter South through Western India to Ceylon. East as far as Behar and Western Bengal.
Nidification. Within our limits this bird breeds in great numbers in Kashmir, and General Betham found it breeding at Quetta. The nests are neat but rather fragile cups of grass and roots lined with horse-hair or, less often, with fine grass-stems. In the early part of the season, April and May, it nests in the low scrub-jungle but when these are burnt out in June it resorts to the outer branches of firs and pines, 10 to 20 feet from the ground. The eggs are like those of the Common Lesser White-throat and go through the same variations. One hundred eggs average 16.5 x 13.1 mm.: maxima 19.0 x 13.7 and 18.5 x 14.2 mm.; minima 15.8 X 12.3 mm.
Habits. In Summer these Warblers keep much to undergrowth of forest and scrub-jungle until they are forced into trees by the burning of the lower cover. In Winter, however, they keep far more to trees and are then very seldom found in the more desert treeless areas affected by Sylvia nana and, to a less extent, by Sylvia c. minula. Their song is sweet, though short, and their call-note a shrill one, much like that of the Blue-Tit.