(4) Corvus corone orientalis Eversm.
THE EASTERN CARRION-CROW.
Corvus corone orientalis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 24.
The Eastern Carrion-Crow breeds in Siberia from about the longitude of the River Yenesei to Japan and thence south through Central Asia to Afghanistan, Kashmir, Ladak, Tibet and the moun¬tains of Northern China. As regards Kashmir the only authentic record up to the time of the second edition of Hume’s 'Nests and Eggs’ (1889) was that of Brooks, who took eggs, securing the parent bird, from a nest obtained on the 30th May at Sonamurg. Since then a great many nests supposed to be that of the Jungle-Crow (Corvus levaillanti intermedins) have been taken and recorded as such. As, however, this Crow does occur freely in Southern Kashmir, whilst the Carrion-Crow is equally numerous in Ladak and in some parts of Kashmir proper, it is best to ignore all records in which the birds themselves have not been obtained and identified. The first to take a series of the eggs of the Carrion-Crow within our limits was Osmaston who, in 1923, took many nests and eggs of a Crow which on examination proved to be of this species. Most of his nests were taken in Ladak, at elevations between 10,000 and 12,000 feet, built on Poplar, Willow and other trees at no great height, generally 15 to 20 feet, from the ground. The nests he describes as made of sticks with copious linings of wool and hair. In March 1930 Mr. F. Ludlow took a further fine series of this Crow’s eggs, together with some of the parent birds, in the country around the Maralbastu-Aksu Road. Here the birds were building in the “Togbrak” or desert Poplar. On the extreme western frontier Whitehead found them breeding in the Upper Kurram Valley and writes : “On the Upper Kurram Valley it breeds freely in April from 5,000 feet upwards. The favourite nesting site is undoubtedly a Chenar-tree (Plane) near some village, where the bird can find ample food for itself and family by scavenging. The nest is just like the Common Carrion-Crow’s nest, an untidy affair of sticks and twigs, lined with wool, hair, or any rubbish it may pilfer from the village.” I have also had its eggs sent me from Tibet with the following note : “I send you the head and wing of a Crow. The nest was built in a thick thorn bush only about 5 feet from the ground, made of sticks, twigs and grass lined with finer twigs and wool. The birds breed so early that I find it difficult to get their nests. This was probably a second brooding, as most birds have laid their eggs in early April, beginning to breed early in March.” Although one would infer from this note that the birds are common in Tibet, Ludlow says that this is not the case, and certainly I never again had any more eggs sent to me. The usual number of eggs in a full clutch is four or five within our geographical limits, though three only may sometimes be incubated. In Krasnoyask and Yeneseik, however, Smirnoff found five or six to be the normal clutch.
The eggs are typical Crows’ eggs, giving the impression of dark green, heavily blotched. The ground-colour nay be anything from pale olive-stone, olive-grey or dull olive-green to a clear blue-green or olive-blue. The markings consist of numerous blotches and spots of dark brown, reddish-brown or blackish-brown with others underlying of grey and neutral tint. Sometimes the markings in one or more eggs of a clutch are longitudinal in character, the others being quite normal. Taking them as a whole they are handsome eggs and one type, which is not uncommon, has the whole surface so completely covered with very small dark green blotches and stippling that they look an almost uniform dark sage-green. Sixty eggs average 4.36 x 30.9 mm : maxima 49.0 x 29.0 and 44.0 x 32.6 mm. ; minima 36.2 x 28.0 mm.
4. Corvus Corone orientalis
(4) Corvus corone orientalis Eversm.