(445) Certhia himalayana taeniura*
The Turkestan Tree-Creeper.
Certhia taeniura Severtz., Turk. Jevotn., p. 138 (1873) (Turkestan).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. This race differs from the preceding bird in being much paler, more brown, less black; the under parts, except the chin and throat, are all smoky-brown with no tinge of fulvous.
Colours of soft parts as in the Himalayan Tree-Creeper.
Measurements. Wing 65 to 73 mm.; tail about 52 to 65 mm.; tarsus about 18 mm.; culmen about 18 to 21 mm. Blanford remarks that taeniura has a much longer bill than himalayana; the British Museum series does not confirm this.
Distribution. Turkestan, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Gilgit, North and Central Kashmir, Chitral, Karam Valley, etc.
Nidification. The Turkestan Tree-Creeper is found breeding between 5,000 and 12,000 feet over all the mountains of extreme North-West India. Whitehead found it breeding in some numbers in the Safed Koh up to 9,000 feet aud in North Kashmir it breeds in great numbers up to 10,000 feet. The nest differs in no way from that of the Himalayan Tree-Creeper and the eggs cannot be distinguished from those of that bird. Forty eggs average 15.9x11.9 mm. and the extremes of length and breadth are 17.5 x 12.3 mm. and 14.9 X 11.3 mm.
It breeds later than the preceding bird, most eggs being laid during the first week in June or the last few days of May.
Habits. Those of the genus. Whitehead says:—"The call note is a faint squeak, rarely heard in winter. In summer its loud but rather monotonous song is constantly uttered. It does not by any means restrict itself to trees. I have often noticed it climbing up walls."
This Tree-Creeper is found up to 12,000 feet in summer but, on the other hand, in winter descends to 4,000 feet or lower still in the Afghanistan and Baluchistan Hills.
* Meinertzhagen has recently separated another form as intermediate "between himalayana and taeniura under the name of miles (Bull. B. O. C. xlii, June, 1922). It is true that the birds from Central Kashmir and N.W. India are somewhat intermediate between the two but the great majority seem to me to be easily referable to one or the other race and a third race appears to be unnecessary, for on the dividing lines of all subspecies intermediate birds must occur. Meinertzhagen is wrong in crediting taeniura with a longer culmen than himalayana.