1189. Anthus nilghiriensis

(1889) Anthus nilghiriensis Sharpe.
THE NILGIRI PIPIT.
Anthus nilghiriensis, Fauna B, I., Birds, 2nd ed, vol. iii, p. 283.
This Pipit seems to be confined to the Nilgiri and Palni Hills, where it breeds above 4,000 feet to the highest peaks, but more frequently above than under 6,000 feet.
Since Davison first found its nest and eggs in the vicinity of Ooty many other naturalists have also done so, the accounts of all these agreeing in every detail. I have received specimens from Cardew, Howard Campbell, Terry, Wilson, Packard, Williams and Betham, in many cases with notes on the nests and their sites. These notea may be summed up as follows :—
The Nilgiri Pipit breeds wherever there are wide open grass hill-sides, such as abound on the Nilgiri Hills. Here from about 6,000 feet up to the summits of the hills the Pipit is common, becoming less so on the lower hills and never, so far as has been yet recorded, descending in Summer below 4,000 feet. The nest is invariably placed well in the open and most often is built in among the roots of. short grass either on the open hill-side or on some bank. Occasionally it is placed in a hollow where the bank or ground is steepest but, even then, it is always well screened from view by grass or weeds. Less often the nest is built at the foot of some bush, while, even more seldom, it may be hidden under a boulder or in a hole or crevice in a rock.
The nest is always the same, a cup of coarse grass and grass- blades lined with finer grass and fine grass-stems. The only variation from this has been a nest in which some fragments of bracken were used to make the outer walls.
In size, however, the nest varies considerably ; most nests are rather bulky, solidly built cups, the walls thick and well put together and the inner cup deep. Such nests may measure as much as 6 inches in diameter and 3 in depth, with a cup fully 3 by 1.1/2 inches. Some nests, on the other hand, are flimsy, loosely put together saucers, occasionally little more than pads consisting of some loose grass thrown together to a thickness of half an inch or so.
Many birds commence to breed in April, and eggs may be found all through May and June, while Cardew took fresh eggs as late as the 15th July.
The full clutch of eggs numbers two or three, the former more often than the latter. In appearance they are quite typical Pipits’ eggs of the finely speckled grey or grey-brown typo. Blotched eggs, are, however, not rare, the blotches small but showing up well against the grey-white ground. I have one pair slightly olive-sienna, faintly freckled and blurred with darker sienna-grey. I have seen no erythristic eggs of this bird nor any eggs which one could call boldly blotched or marbled.
In shape the eggs are broad to moderate ovals, sometimes slightly pointed at the smaller end. The texture is fairly fine and the surface glossless or very nearly so. The shells are rather fragile.
Thirty eggs average 22.1 x 16.1 mm. : maxima 23.5 x 16.8 and 23.0 x 17.0 mm. ; minima 19.6 x 14.9 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1189. Anthus nilghiriensis
Spp Author: 
Sharpe.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1189
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
141
Common name: 
Nilgiri Pipit
M_ID: 
30468
M_CN: 
Nilgiri Pipit
M_SN: 
Anthus nilghiriensis
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14268

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