(1142) Delichon urbica cashmeriensis.
The Kashmir House-Martin.
Delichon cashmeriensis Gould, P. Z. S., 1858, p. 356 (Kashmir). Chelidon kashmiriensis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 269.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Differs from the European House-Martin in having the shaft-lines on rump and tail-coverts more definite and in having the lower parts suffused with smoky- or grey-brown.
Colours of soft parts as in the European race.
Measurements. Total length about 135 mm.; wing 99 to 104 mm. (one 107 mm.) ; tail 42 to 46 mm.; tarsus 9 to 10 mm.; culmen about 6 mm.
Distribution. The Himalayas from South-East Afghanistan to Sikkim. To the North it extends to the South of Grilgit, where it meets the previous race. In Winter it has been found as far South as Bilaspur in the Central Provinces and also in Coimbatore. It is extremely difficult to define the breeding-ranges of this and the last form. D. u. urbica has been found breeding down to 5,000 feet in Gilgit and D. u. cashmeriensis up to 12,000 feet in the same country. In Ladakh both forms have been found breeding and there are also specimens of both forms in the British Museum collection obtained from Leh in the Summer months. The division seems to be one of North and South, not much affected by altitude.
Nidification. "Whitehead, Pitman and others found the Kashmir House-Martin breeding during May and June on the North-West Frontier but throughout Kashmir, Kuman, Garhwai etc. it appears to breed from the middle of June to the end of July. It builds both on cliffs and buildings, in the former case often in colonies of considerable size, sometimes numbering three or four hundred pairs. The nest is just like that of the European House-Martin; when on houses, which is unusual, the eaves of the buildings form the roof of the nest, but when in colonies on cliffs an overhanging rock serves this purpose to the upper nests, whilst these in their turn form the roofs of those below them. Four or five eggs are laid, sometimes three only, which are not distinguishable from those of D. u. urbica though rather smaller. Eighty eggs average 17.9 x 12.7 mm.: maxima 19.6 x 13.0 and 19.2 x 13.5 mm.; minima 16.0 x l3.1 and 17.0 x 12.2 mm.
Habits. This little Martin is a resident wherever found from 5,000 feet to 15,000 feet, though it leaves the higher ranges for the lower in the coldest months. Except that it does not haunt the towns and villages, as does its European cousin, but is found often in the most desolate, uninhabited areas, its habits call for no remark. It very rarely straggles into the plains of India but was once obtained by Blanford in the Central. Provinces at Bilaspur.