633. Hemichelidon sibirica gulmergi

(633) Hemichelidon sibirica gulmergi Stuart Baker.
Hemichelidon sibirica gulmergi, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 203.
The Western form of Sooty Flycatcher is found throughout the North-West Himalayas from Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Gilgit, through Kashmir, to the Simla States and Garhwal, breeding from 8,000 feet upwards. Brooks states that it breeds in the Pine- woods of Kashmir at 7,000 feet, whilst Rattray took several nests at 7,500 round Changla-Gali and Dunga-Gali. These heights are, however, exceptionally low, and more birds will be found breeding above than below 9,000 feet. It certainly breeds up to 11,000 feet and, possibly, up to the tree-limit.
Davidson (Ibis, 1898, p. 20) writes of this little Flycatcher as follows :—“This was one of the latest migrants. We saw a pair near Gund, evidently passing through, on the 23rd May, and we found small flocks and pairs at Sonamurg on the 1st June. These increased in numbers later on, and we discovered nests half built on the 3rd. They, however, take a long time to build, and the nests we found on that date did not contain the full clutch of four until the 16th, but we also saw other nests in process of building on this later date. With one exception, all the nests found were on horizontal branches of large spruce firs in very open forest, and generally 30 or 40 feet from the ground. The nests were large, solid, cup-shaped structures of moss and were placed about half way along the branch on the upper side. The number of eggs was either three or four. The birds might be said almost to breed in colonies, as in one place we found five nests in a circle with a radius of less than fifty yards. We do not think this bird bred under 9,000 feet.”
Rattray describes nests and sites very much as above but found the nests sometimes as low as ten feet from the ground. Whymper, who took their nests at 10,000 feet in the Nila Valley, Garwhal, found them on the upper parts of large branches, not against the trunks, but sometimes close to it, about 20 feet from the ground. Of the nests he writes :—“They make very neat nests of moss and lichen, lined with hair. They reminded me of Chaffinches’ nests.”
They are late breeders. In Kashmir few birds lay until the second week in June, but in the Murree Hills Rattray and Buchanan took a few full clutches in the last week of May. Fresh eggs may, however, be found until about the middle of July. They are single brooded, but birds which have their nests and eggs destroyed will build again, and such nests may be found up to the end of July or even early August.
The full clutch of eggs is equally often three or four, but I have one five in my series.
In colour the eggs appear to be a pale olive-grey or olive-stone, practically unicoloured, unless examined closely. The ground varies from pale olive-grey to equally pale olive-buff or olive-stone, and they are freckled, densely at the larger end, sparsely elsewhere, with very pale reddish which sometimes forms a fairly well-defined cap at the larger end. Occasionally a clutch may be taken with a very pale sea-green ground definitely marked with small blotches of reddish, showing up well and clearly, while other clutches between these two extremes also sometimes occur.
In shape the eggs are rather broad ovals, not much compressed at the smaller end, but a few eggs are rather long ovals, with the smaller ends somewhat pointed. The texture is very fine, the shells brittle, even in proportion to their size, and the surface quite dull and glossless.
Sixty eggs average 16.1 x 12.1 mm. : maxima 17.2 x 12.7 and 17.1 x 12.8 mm. ; minima 15.0 x 11.6 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
633. Hemichelidon sibirica gulmergi
Spp Author: 
Stuart baker.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Kashmir Sooty Flycatcher
Muscicapa sibirica gulmergi
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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