(633) Hemichelidon sibirica gulmergi.
The Kashmir Sooty Flycatcher.
Hemichelidon sibirica gulmergi Stuart Baker, Bull. B. O. C, xliii, p. 155 (1923) (Gulmerg, Kashmir). Hemichelidon sibirica. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 5 (part.).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Similar to the preceding race, but decidedly paler and more grey both above and below but, at the same time, not nearly so pure a grey as in H. s. sibirica.
Colours of soft parts as in H. s. cacabata.
Measurements as in H. s. cacabata. Wing 70 to 76 mm.
Distribution. N.W. Himalayas from Afghanistan and Baluchistan to Kashmir and Garhwal.
Nidification. The Kashmir Sooty Flycatcher breeds throughout its range between 8,000 and 11,000 feet from the middle of May to the middle of July. The nest is a bulky but fairly compact and well-made cup of moss, both dry and green, lichens and roots, lined with the latter or with grass and sometimes a few feathers. It is generally placed on the horizontal branch of a spruce or other Conifer at a considerable height from the ground, at other times quite low down and occasionally against a stump of dead tree. Davidson found that frequently in Kashmir several pairs bred close together. The eggs number three or four, very rarely five. They are pale stone, yellowish, or greenish-grey in ground-colour but so profusely covered with almost invisible specks of light red that they look unicoloured olive at a little distance. Fifty eggs average 15.9 x 12.1 mm.: maxima 17.1 x 12.8 mm.; minima 15.0 x 11.6 mm.
Habits. This little Flycatcher is found between 8,000 and 12,000 feet in Summer, descending to the foot-hills above 1,000 feet in Winter, rarely venturing actually into the plains. It is a forest-bird but prefers the outskirts of such as are not very dense and it seems especially fond of spruce. 11 is a typical little Flycatcher in every respect; a rather quiet bird but with a sweet, although weak, song. It is extremely common over the greater part of Kashmir in summer over 8,000 feet.