(1161) Hirundo daurica nepalense Hodgs.
THE HIMALAYAN STRIATED SWALLOW.
Hirundo daurica nipalensis, Fauna B, I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 250.
This is a Swallow which has been reported as occurring over the greater part of Eastern Asia, the great majority of the records referring to Winter birds. Of the others some seem divisible into yet further races (see also Ticehurst’s notes in Journ. Bomb. Nat, Hist. Soc., supra). For the purpose of this work I include as its. range only the Western Himalayas from the North-West boundaries of India to Assam North of the Brahmapootra, where it breeds over the greater part of the Outer Himalayas from 3,500 to 10,000 feet.
This Swallow breeds both in buildings and in cliffs and, sometimes, selects sites on the latter which are quite well wooded. As regards buildings, Hume thinks it “constructs its nest by preference under the eaves and in the verandahs of empty houses and staging bunga¬lows, which are seldom in the hills occupied for many successive days.” Often, however, they make their nests in inhabited houses, placing them “beneath the caves of houses, against window-frames, at the side of verandah beams," etc.
Magrath (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xviii, p. 204, 1908). has a very interesting note on this bird’s breeding at Thandiani:— “Hodgson's Striated Swallow breeds in small colonies about the bare hills below the forest. These Swallows do not appear to build their nests together like Martins, but a pair will build here and another there, sometimes widely apart when the rocks are unsuitable. The situation of nests, or rather remains of nests I saw, all appeared stupidly selected, being terribly exposed to wind and weather, and the nests had all collapsed. I found a pair building on 10th July on an old site on a face of a rock sloping inwards on the side of a road, where any passer-by could knock the nest down.”
Sometimes, however, the nests are built in very inaccessible places, and Rattray tells me that though he obtained nests both near Murree and at Mussoorie which were easily get-at-able, others were built in quite impossible positions, Rattray also remarks- on the scattered positions selected in most colonies of these Swallows.
Hutton has a most detailed account of the nest-building of this Swallow in Hume's 'Nests and Eggs.’ I have never been able to corroborate what he says from my small experience of the nesting of the Striated Swallows, but it is to be hoped some of our North¬-West collectors will note what they may find to endorse or con¬tradict what Hutton has written —“When the bird has selected the spot on which it intends to build, it usually deposits a white chalky substance, by way of cement, against the wall or beam, as the case may be, as an adhesive foundation for the subsequent wall of mud. Without this precaution the weight of the material would cause it to part from its foundation. The same whitish earth may also be seen in the narrow neck of the nest, more especially at the mouth. Generally speaking this chalky cement is applied to any part that may appear to require strengthening. Sometimes if the neck is turned off at an angle there is pretty sure to be a layer of cement at the point of deviation from the previous direction.”
The nest is just like that of all the Striated Swallows, with a tuimel entrance said to measure anything from 2 to 6 inches, but sometimes being as much as 13 inches.
The breeding season is normally from June to August, but many birds lay in May, and Brooks found eggs nearly hatched in that month.
Most birds have two broods in the year and these are generally raised in the same nest. Hutton says of one pair which built their nest against a window of his house :—“They reared one brood in June and as soon as the young wore able to fly they were escorted by the old birds during the day and were initiated in the art of fly-catching, returning to the nest about sunset or earlier if the rain was heavy. This continued for about ten days, when the young disappeared, and the old ones laid again in the same nest towards the end of July."
The usual number of eggs laid is four, occasionally five or three.
They axe of the same description as those of the other Striated Swallows.
Sixty eggs average 20.8 x 14.4 mm. : maxima 22.0 x 14.0 and 20.7 x 15.0 mm. ; minima 19.1 x 13.6 mm.
1161. Hirundo daurica nepalensis
(1161) Hirundo daurica nepalense Hodgs.