1858. Columba leuconota leuconota

(1858) Columba leuconota leuconota Vigors.
THE NEPALESE SNOW-PIGEON.
Columba leuconota leuconota, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. v, p. 224. This beautiful Pigeon is found throughout the Himalayas, from 10,000 feet upwards, from, and including, Afghanistan to Western Ladak, Garhwal and Sikkim. Rattray also found it breeding in small colonies at 9,000 to 9,500 feet near Sonamurg and, in Garhwal also, Whymper found a large colony breeding at 9,000 feet.
This Pigeon is entirely one of open bare mountains, with steep cliffs and precipices, never frequenting forest or heavily wooded country. They seem to breed only in caves, rifts and crevices in rocky cliffs and precipitous sides of rivers and never, like the Rock- and Hill-Pigeons, in human habitations. As a rule the colonies are in such inaccessible positions that the eggs are quite out of reach or can only be got at with such preparations as are not possible when the colonies are discovered,
Whymper found a huge colony of these Pigeons breeding near Gangotri at about 9,000-feet, hut they were utterly unapproachable. These were building their nests in caves and crevices, but a little higher, at about 10,000 feet, he came on a much smaller colony nesting on steep rocks above the Gaugotri. Although this was on the 25th of May most of the nests already contained young, but he succeeded in getting a few eggs, of which he sent me a pair. Rattray also found most of the Kashmir colonies quite impossible to raid, but he came on two or three small colonies of from eight to ten pairs which he managed to climb up to and, on the 10th June, he found one of which the nests contained eggs, and obtained two from one nest and three from another.
The nests seem to be much the same as those of the Rock- and Hill- Pigeons, though all my correspondents speak of them as less bulky yet equally dirty and full of vermin. They are made of twigs with all sorts of oddments added, and are apparently used year after year without much in the way of additions or repairs, so that they never attain the weight and measurements acquired by some old nests of the Blue Rock-Pigeon. Rattray calls them scanty nests made of a few dry twigs” but, occasionally, they are massive with congealed excrement and much matted straw and feathers.”
The breeding season seems to be principally May and June, but as Whymper found young on the 20th May some eggs must be laid in April, and I have one record of eggs laid in July. There is no evidence of whether they have more than one brood in the year, but it seems probable that very few birds, if any, breed more than once.
The average of forty eggs is 40.3 x 20.1 mm. ; maxima 42.8 x 29.3 and 40.8 x 31.2 mm. ; minima 34.6 x 26.3 mm.
It is possible that a larger series would give a still higher average, as in the series measured by me there are included two exceptionally small pairs and the three very small eggs taken by Rattray from one nest.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 4. 1935.
Title in Book: 
1858. Columba leuconota leuconota
Spp Author: 
Vigors.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1858
Year: 
1935
Page No: 
152
Common name: 
White Bellied Or Snow Pigeon
M_ID: 
4829
M_SN: 
Columba leuconota leuconota
Volume: 
Vol. 4
Term name: 
id: 
15037

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