(1797) Buteo hemilasius Temm. & Schleg.
THE UPLAND BUZZARD.
Buteo hemilasius, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. v, p. 140.
So far as is known at present the Upland Buzzard breeds within our limits only in Tibet, hut it probably breeds in other parts of the higher Himalayas also. Its extra-limital range extends North¬-East to Siberia and Mongolia, to Japan and, possibly, to the North-Central Chinese hills.
This Buzzard in Tibet appears to be entirely a rock-builder, making a very large nest of sticks, often of considerable size, on ledges or in crevices of rocks in cliff-faces. In many cases the birds make a fairly good lining of grass, both in scraps and in bunches torn up by the roots, while in one instance tufts of wool have been noticed mixed in with the grass.
The first record of the nest is that of Bailey (Journ. Bomb, Nat, Hist. Soc. vol. xix, p, 522, 1909), with a very good photo. He writes :—"I send you a photograph of a nest of Archibuteo hemito-tophus (—Buleo hemilasius) which I took near here on the 12th April this year at an altitude of 14,800) feet. The nest was made of sticks (one of which was over 5 feet long) and lined with blades and roots of coarse grass. The Tibetan name of this bird is Charkyi.” A skin of a Buzzard shot close by the nest and presumed to be the owner was identified by Mr. N. B. Kinnear as that of this species. Later (op. cit. vol. xxi, p. 182, 1911) Bailey notes that) having compared the two eggs he found with others he thinks they are too large and that the bird shot near the nest the following day could not have been the owner.
Probably, almost certainly, however, Bailey’s first identification must have been correct. The nest and eggs are those of Buzzard ; no other Buzzard breeds near Gyantse, and I have since received, other eggs and skins and descriptions of nests from Gyantse which exactly tally with his.
Stein also obtained eggs of a Buzzard, which he sent to Dresser, together with a skin which the latter identified as of this bird. The eggs, and I think the skin, are now in the Manchester Museum.
The eggs sent to me have all been taken from nests described as huge affairs of sticks lined with tufts of greass, or grass and wool, placed on ledges or in crevices of rocks. I have records of eggs taken on 29th April, a clutch of three, on 24th June, two more eggs taken from the same nest, and another clutch of three taken on the 19th May.
The breeding season, as will be seen from the above notes, is April and May in Tibet, while in the Amur and Altai May and June are the two months in which most eggs are laid.
The full complement of eggs is three or four, two only being occasionally incubated.
They are pure white in ground or white tinged with grey, ochre or pale buff. A few eggs are much like those of the preceding bird, faintly blotched all over with pale reddish and with equally faint underlying markings of lilac and lilac-grey. More often they are well blotched all over, or at the larger end, with deep rich brown with a few obsolete secondary markings of grey. Some clutches are quite handsome, especially a type with Targe smears of light brown, with a few others of deeper redder-brown and fairly numerous, but very faint secondary smears of palest grey. In these eggs all the markings are more numerous at the larger end than elsewhere and occasionally form a definite cap. I have one clutch taken by Sem in off at Radeffka in which the primary markings are very few, absent in one egg, but in which pale lilac blotches are numerous everywhere. As a series the eggs are much better marked than those of vulpinus, yet not so richly coloured as those of rufinus.
The texture is coarse, the surface smooth to rather rough, while the usual shape is a very broad oval.
Fifty eggs average 58.8 x 45.5 mm. : maxima 64.0 x 46.0 and 61.9 x 47.9 mm. ; minima 53.5 x 43.5 and 58.6 x 42.6 mm.
1797. Buteo hemilasius
(1797) Buteo hemilasius Temm. & Schleg.