1039. Perissospiza icterioides ieterioides

(1039) Perissospiza icterioides icterioides (Vigors).
Perissospiza icterioides icterioides, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 102.
This, the typical form of Black-and-Yellow Grosbeak, occurs from Afghanistan throughout the Outer Himalayas, through Southern Kashmir to the Simla States, breeding at elevations of 5,500 feet and upwards but not, apparently, at the greater heights over 9,000 or 10,000 feet.
This Finch is a bird of Pine and other coniferous forests, being also found in more open country in which small spinneys and single coniferous trees are plentiful.
The first ornithologist to take its nest with eggs was Captain Cock, who succeeded in doing so both in the Murree Hills and in Kashmir. He took a good many nests with eggs in May and June near Danga Gali and shot a female off one nest which he describes as follows :—“My first nest, containing three eggs, was taken on the 28th May, at 8,000 feet elevation, upon a sapling lime. The nest was composed of a few twigs and grass, and lined with stalks of maidenhair fem and fine roots. I shot the female as she left the nest.”
Jones (A. E.) gives a rather fuller description of its nesting (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist, Soc. vol. xxvi, p. 610, 1919):—
"This is a resident species, coming right into Simla in winter. In the summer its haunts are the Deodar (C. deodara) forest just North and North-East of Simla, where it breeds from 7,500 feet upwards. The seven nests of which I have records varied in height from 18 feet to 60 feet from the ground. Most nests are placed close to the main stem of the tree (Deodar and Spruce) but I found one placed on a horizontal branch 10 feet away from the trunk, and had to extract the eggs with the help of a spoon tied to the end of a stick. The materials of the nest are fine twigs, lichen and silvery plant-stems, with occasionally a little moss, lined with dry grass and rootlets. Both birds assist in building. Eggs two or three, quite as often the former as the latter.”
Rattray, who took nests in the Murree Hills between 5,500 and 8,000 feet, all in fir-trees, describes the nests as “broad and rather large cups, very well and strongly built, the materials compactly and neatly put together. They are made of twigs, roots and mosses and lined with finer roots. They are placed high up and often at the junction of large boughs with the main trunk, so that they are practically invisible from below, and the neats have to be found by watching the birds,”
The breeding season is May and June but Buchanan found one nest on the 4th April containing a full clutch of three eggs. It is possible, but not probable, that they occasionally have two broods.
They lay two or three eggs, as Jones says, one as often as the other.
The ground-colour is a pale French grey (Hume says sometimes tinged with green, but I have never seen this). The marks consist of deep purple-black spots and broad scrolls and lines with secondary marks consisting of very fine intertwisted lines and specks of pale brown and lavender-grey. The lines and scrolls are nearly always confined to the larger end, where they form broad rings, often with clouds of suffused colour underneath the ring. Elsewhere there are only a few dark blots and scanty veining of grey. In some eggs the larger, blacker spots look as if they had run.
In shape the eggs are rather long ovals, sometimes distinctly pointed. The texture is fine and the surface close and generally well glossed.
Forty eggs average 28.3 x 19.9 mm, : maxima 32.0 x 20.0 and 29.3 x 20.7 mm. ; minima 26.1 x 20.2 and 20.9 x 19.0 mm.
Rattray tells me that both birds build the nest, but there is no information available as to period of incubation or whether both sexes carry this out.
* As Perissospiza carnipes speculigera Brandt is now generally accepted as a recognizable race, the true carnipes must also come under a trinomial. Speculigera is not a very marked race,

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1039. Perissospiza icterioides ieterioides
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Simla Black And Yellow Grosbeak
Black-and-yellow Grosbeak
Mycerobas icterioides
Vol. 3

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