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is tolerably common. The Rev. Canon Tristram found it numerous in Palestine, and especially abundant under Mount Hermon. Messrs. Elwes and Buckley include it in their list of the birds of Turkey (" Ibis," 1870, p. 19), and Lord Lilford has noted its occasional occurrence in spring in the Ionian Isles. Rlippell includes it amongst the birds of Arabia and Egypt,1 but either it is not very common in Egypt, or it has escaped the searching eyes of many English ornithologists in that country. Mr. O. Salvin found it tolerably common in the Eastern Atlas, and it has also been met with in Tripoli (cf. Chambers, " Ibis," 1867, p. 104). As it is thus found in North Africa, and, according to Professor Savi, is a summer visitant to Italy, one would naturally expect to find it in Malta; but Mr. C. A. Wright, who has paid great attention to Maltese ornithology for many years, states that he has never met with it himself, and that only one instance of its occurrence in Malta is known to him. In Spain it has been observed as a summer visitant both by Lord Lilford and Mr. Howard Saunders. The last-named naturalist says ("Ibis," 1871, p. 212) that it nests there in May, and refers to the frequent inequality in the size of eggs in the same nest—a peculiarity which does not seem to have been previously noticed. In Portugal it appears to be only an occasional summer visitant, apparently not straying so far westward as a rule I am not aware that it has been found further to the south-west than Morocco. Mr. Tyrwhitt Drake met with it in this country in 1867, but considered it rare.
1 "Syst. Uebers. d. Vogel Nord-Ost Afrika's," p. 57.
According to the observations of Von der Miihle, in his "Monograph of the European Sylviida" and of Captain Beavan on various birds in India (" Ibis," 1868, pp. 73, 74), there is good reason to believe that both the Blackcap and the Orphean Warbler completely lose the black crown in winter, and reassume it at the approach of the breeding season.
Criticizing these remarks, however, the late Mr. Blyth wrote :—
"Do the males of these birds lose the black cap in winter? Certainly not the former—at least as observed in captivity—and therefore I cannot help doubting exceedingly that they do so in the wild state. Upon a bad Indian drawing of the Orphean Warbler, reproduced in the 'Proceedings of the Zoological Society' for 1851 (p. 195, pi. 43), the supposed Artamus cucullatus was sought to be established. The habits of the Orphean Warbler are thus described in Jerdon's 'Birds of India'—in which country, by the way, it passes the winter, the males then retaining their black cap :—' It frequents groves, gardens, hedges, single trees, and even low bushes on the plains; is very active and restless, incessantly moving about from branch to branch, clinging to the twigs, and feeding on various insects, grubs, and caterpillars, and also on flower buds. It is sometimes seen alone, at other times two or three together.' Undoubtedly it must needs feed also on soft fruits. The hen of this bird bears an exceedingly close resemblance to the Lesser Whitethroat, except in size; while the cock bird further differs in having the black cap at all seasons. There is likewise in India the Sylvia, or Curruca, affinis, which resembles our Lesser Whitethroat, excepting in being as large as our Common Whitethroat. The latter bird has lately turned up in the north-west of India; and the British Lesser Whitethroat is the only one of the group which extends its range eastward to Lower Bengal, where it occurs, however, only above the tideway of the rivers, upon the sandy soil in which the Baubul (Vachelia farnesiand) grows plentifully. There I have observed our familiar little friend in abundance during the winter months, but never upon the alluvion or mud soil; and the same remark applies to Hippolais rama. It has been suggested to me that there may be a race of ' Blackcap' that visits Eastern Europe, the males of which have a rufous-brown cap like the females. In our race of Blackcap the diversity of the sexes is very noticeable, even in nestlings."
Captain Beavan, in the article before referred to, says: "Specimens of the Orphean Warbler, procured on the 22nd of October, had no trace whatever of a black head, and were considered by Colonel Tytler to be the young of the year; but in my opinion the state of the plumage was not sufficiently juvenile; and I think that the old birds adopt a different colouring according to the time of year, probably putting on the black head as the breeding season approaches." To this observation the editor of the "Ibis" appended the following note: "That this view of the case is correct there is probably little doubt (cf. Von der Muhle, 'Monogr. Europ. Sylv.,' p. 48)."
From these observations it was surmised that the same might be the case with the Blackcap.