116. DESERT WARBLER.
Sylvia nana (Hempr. and Ehr.), Symb. Phys. Aves fol. c.c. (1829) ; Gould, B. of Asia, iv. pl. 50 ; Dresser, ix. p. 63, pl. 648 ; Seebohm, Cat. B. Br. M. p. 26 ; Oates, F. Brit. Ind. Birds, ii. p. 396 ; S. aralensis, Eversm. Bull. Soc. Nat. Mosc. xxiii. pt. 2, p. 565, pl. viii. fig. 1 ; Prjev. Mongol, i. Strana Tangut., tab. xx. fig. 5, (egg) i. ; S. deserti, Loche, Rev. and Mag. Zool. 1858. p. 394, pl. xi. fig. 1 ; S. delicatula, Hartl., Ibis, 1859, p. 340, pl. x. fig. 1 ; S. dorioe, Defilippi Viagg. Pers. p. 248 ; S. chrysophthalmus, Hengl. Orn. N. O. Afr. i. p. 306.
Male ad. (Transcaspia). Upper parts greyish isabelline, the lower rump and upper tail coverts washed with rufous ; quills margined with rufous buff ; median rectrices rufous buff, outer rectrix white, remainder dark brown margined with rufous buff ; under parts white, flanks washed with buff ; bill pale horn ; legs brownish isabelline ; iris pale yellow. Culmen 0.4, wing 2.5, tail 1.95, tarsus 0.75 inch. The female resembles the male. In the autumn the upper parts are more rufous in tinge, and the young are more rufous than the adult.
Hab. Northern Africa as far west as Algeria ; Arabia, Persia, Transcaspia, Turkestan, N.W. India, east to Alaschan in China ; a straggler to European Russia, and has been once recorded from Italy.
Frequents sandy sterile localities, where there are bushes, and feeds almost entirely on small insects which it picks up from the ground. It is shy and restless and is said to some¬what resemble Drymoeca in its general habits. Its song is rich and pleasant, and is somewhat like that of the Whitethroat. Its nest resembles that of the Reed-Warbler, is elongate, purse¬shaped, open, constructed of grass-bents and blades and leaves, and carefully lined with wool, and the eggs are greenish white spotted and marked with olive-green surface spots, and pale lilac underlying shell-markings, the markings being more numerous at the larger end. In size they measure 1.4 by 1.1 cm. Algerian examples are as a rule more rufous in tone of colour than those from Asia, and Dr. Koenig considers the Algerian bird to be specifically separable, a view with which however I do not agree.
116. Sylvia nana
116. DESERT WARBLER.