42. Garrulus bispecularis bispecularis

(42) Garrulus bispecularis bispecularis Vigors.
Garrulus bispecularis bispecularis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 63.
The Himalayan Jay breeds throughout the outer Himalayas from Kuman and Cashmere to Garhwal and Nepal between 3,000 and 7,000 feet or higher. Rattray prior to 1904 found but one nest round Murree itself though he took numerous nests in the Changla and Danga-galis ; later he took several nests near Murree. In Kashmir it cannot be common. Ward obtained it at Sarai Poonch. 8,000 feet, in April and September and records it as breeding in the outer Ranges, but other breeding records are almost nil. In the Simla States and Garhwal it is a common breeder up to 7,000 feet and over.
The breeding season is from the middle of April to the end of June, the earliest eggs in my own collection were taken on the 10th April (Danga-gali) and the latest on the 30th June (Murree).
The nest seems to vary considerably. Sometimes it is described as “large and jay-like, made of twigs and fine grasses, cup-shaped and roughly built” (Rattray). Marshall took a nest which was “of loose construction, made of twigs and fibre,” whilst his brother gives a more detailed description of another as follows :—“ It was on a horizontal branch of a large oak, at a bifurcation about eight feet from the trunk and about the same from the ground. The nest was more substantial than that of G. lanceolatus, much more moss having been used in the outer casing, but the lining was similar. It was a mis-shapen nest, and appeared, in the distance, like an old deserted one. Another nest I found on the 2nd June was much neater in construction and better concealed than the former one ; it was in a rhododendron tree, in a bend about ten feet from the ground, between, two branches upwards of a foot each in diameter, and covered with moss and dead fern. The tree grew out of a precipitous bank just below the road, and though the nest was on the level of the edge, it was almost impossible to detect it ; it was a very compact, thick cup of roots covered with moss outside. Both nests were at about 7,000 feet elevation and both birds sat very close.”
A. E. Jones, in notes accompanying eggs sent home from Simla, describes the nests as “snug” well built cups of fine twigs almost invariably much mixed with green moss, a feature which would suffice to distinguish it from the nests of the Black-throated Jay or the Burmese Jay. The lining found most often by Jones consisted of rootlets and rhizomorph. Although some nests, like Marshall’s described above and one found by Jones 18 feet up in a Holly-tree, may be hard to find, others are frequently built in quite conspicuous positions in the smaller, topmost branches of saplings. Occasionally nests may be found by roadsides or in more or less open spaces, but most are built in forest, often dense, of mixed Oak, Chestnut, Firs and other trees.
Four or five eggs seem to form the normal clutch but three only are sometimes incubated.
As a whole they differ from those of the Black-throated Jay in being comparatively broader eggs or, perhaps, less compressed at their smaller ends, whilst the markings are better defined blotches, rather than stippling over the whole surface. Many eggs have the ground-colour a greyish-yellow, the surface thickly strewn with small blotches of greyish-brown ; such specimens very seldom occur among the eggs of the Black-throated Jay. At the same time I have other clutches which could not be distinguished from those of that bird, having the same uniform olive-green appearance.
Eighty eggs average 28.4 x 22.1 mm. : maxima 32.8 x 22.2 and 29.5 x 23.1 mm. ; minima 23.2 x 21.9 and 28.1 x 20.2 mm.
The average size of the eggs in my series is considerably reduced by the inclusion of three clutches which are probably unusually small.
Hume’s series of twelve eggs average 29.2 x 23.5 mm., and probably give a truer average size than my larger one.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
42. Garrulus bispecularis bispecularis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Himalayan Jay
Garrulus glandarius bispecularis
Vol. 1

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