608. Monticola solitaria pandoo

(608) Monticola solitaria pandoo (Sykes).
THE INDIAN BLUE ROCK-THRUSH.
Monticola solitaria pandoo, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 174.
The Indian Blue Rock-Thrush has a very wide range, breeding over the whole of Kashmir, East to Tibet, Sikkim and the hills North of Assam. Mr. Cotton took its nest in Murree at about 7,000 feet, Dodsworth took many in the Simla States between 6,000 and 7,200 feet, and in Kashmir Buchanan took many, and other collectors some, between 5,000 and 8,000 feet. Few nests were taken below 6,000 feet and, possibly, it breeds at considerably higher elevations than 8,000 feet.
It is a bird of the open, rocky hill-sides and never of the forests beloved by the Blue-headed Rock-Thrush. Dodsworth (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxi, p. 1328, 1912) gives a full and interesting account of this bird’s breeding and habits :—“This species is a toler¬ably common visitor to these hills [Simla States] arriving in April and leaving in September.
“In the neighbourhood of Simla it breeds at elevations of 6,000-7,200 feet, on bare rocky hills, during May and June. The nests are shallow saucers, in some cases mere pads, adapted to the shape of the cavities in which they are placed, and are composed externally of dry grass, lined with rootlets. The diameter of the egg-cavity does not exceed 4" and its depth is about 1.1/2". The external diameter varies from 5" to 6" and the height is about 2-3," or 3". The nests are placed sometimes in low stone walls, occasion¬ally under boulders, but more frequently in fissures or crevices of large rocks.
“Between the dates 18th May and 20th June I found no less than eight nests containing young ones. Five of these nests had three young ones each and two four young each ; the exact number of young in the eighth nest could not be satisfactorily ascertained as the latter was placed very far back in the fissure of a large rock.
“The nests of this Thrush, especially when they contain eggs, are most difficult to find, as the old birds are very wary and cautious in their movements, and it is only by patient and laborious watching that one can hope to be successful with them. The cock bird, though he helps in feeding the young, and is always much in evidence when the eggs are hatched, keeps far away from the scene when building operations are in progress. The hen bird alone carries the materials, and if she catches sight of one, or suspects that she is being observed, will sit on a rock, with the grass in her mouth, for whole hours at a time rather than give away the show.
“When there are eggs in the nest the hen bird sits very close, and on two occasions I have caught her on the nest So far as my experience goes, I do not think the cock bird takes any part in the hatching of the eggs.”
There is little to add to the above. The breeding season seems to be chiefly in May and June but Buchanan took one nest near Srinagar on the 27th April which contained four eggs, and some of the nests found by Dodsworth with young must have had eggs in that month.
The eggs number three or four. In colour they are the usual pale blue, a little darker in colour than Starlings’ eggs. Some eggs, perhaps one in four, have a few faint freckles of light reddish at the larger end, never conspicuous and often hardly visible. The only variation I have ever seen is an abnormal clutch with one normal blue egg and three a pale yellowish-green, covered with a white powder which does not seem to be fungoid but a calcium deposit over the pigment.
Thirty-two eggs average 26.0 x 19.1 mm. : maxima 29.0 x 20.0 and 27.7 x 20.1 mm. ; minima 23.3 x 18.0 and 24.3 x 17.7 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
608. Monticola solitaria pandoo
Spp Author: 
Sykes
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
608
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
152
Common name: 
Indian Blue Rock Thrush
M_ID: 
28368
M_SN: 
Monticola solitarius pandoo
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13770

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith