112. LESSER WHITETHROAT.
Sylvia curruca (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p 329 (1766) ; Hewitson, i. p. 132, pl. xxxv. fig. 4 ; Naumann, ii. p. 451, Taf. 77, fig. 1 ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 58 ; Newton, i. p. 410 ; Dresser, ii. p. 383, pl. 58 ; Seebohm, Cat. B. Br. Mus. v. p. 17 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 277 ; Saunders, p. 43 : Lilford, iii. p. 52, pl. 26 ; S. garrula, Bechst., Gemeinn. Naturg. Deutschl., 2nd ed. ii. p. 540 (1807) ; Gould, B. of Eur. ii. pl. 125.
Beefin-babillard, French ; Parlanchin, Span. ; Zaun-Gras-mucke, German : Braamsluiper, Dutch ; Gjoerdesanger, Dan. ; Groessmutte, Norweg. ; Artsmyg, Swed. ; Herne-kerttu, Finn. ; Peresmeshka, Russ.
Male ad. (Turkey). Crown smoke-grey ; lores and ear-coverts blackish brown ; upper parts generally brownish smoke-grey ; wings and tail blackish brown, the primaries margined with ashy brown, the inner secondaries with whitish grey : outer tail feather whitish grey ; under parts white with a rosy tinge, washed with pale rufous on the flanks ; bill blackish, the base of the lower mandible dull yellowish ; legs plumbeous ; iris pearly white. Culmen 0.45, wing 2.55, tail 2.3, tarsus 0.75 inch ; first primary 1.1 inch shorter than the second, which is intermediate between the fifth and sixth, the third and fourth nearly equal and longest. The female is somewhat smaller and duller, the head browner, lores and ear-coverts paler, and under parts tinged with grey. Young birds have the upper parts browner and the under parts washed with pale brown.
Hab. Europe generally from the Mediterranean north to Trondhjem in Norway and from western Europe at least to the Ural : common in Great Britain up to Stirlingshire above which it is rare ; winters in Africa as far south as Nubia and Abyssinia.
It affects woodlands, groves, and gardens, but not the true forest, and prefers bush-growth, hedges, &c., to trees. Lively and active, it is by no means shy when unmolested. Its call-note is harsh and its song consists of a number of hasty twittering and flute-like notes, with a frequent repetition of the syllables sip, sip, sip, and, though pleasing, lacks variety. It feeds chiefly on insects of various kinds and their larvae, but also to some extent on fruit and berries. It breeds in May or June, placing its nest on a bush not very high above the ground, this latter being slightly though firmly constructed of dried bents lined with line bents, rootlets, and horsehair. The eggs, usually 4 or 5 in number, are white, boldly but sparingly blotched with dull light brown and purplish grey shell-markings, and darker brown surface-spots which are larger and more profuse at the larger end, and in size average about 0.65 by 0.51.
112. Sylvia curruca
112. LESSER WHITETHROAT.