46. Nucifraga caryocataetes hemispila

(46) Nucifraga caryocatactes hemispila Vigors.
Nucifraga caryocatactes hemispila, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 66.
This bird breeds throughout the Himalayas from the extreme North-West, through Kuman, Simla States, Garhwal, into Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet.
There are very few records of this bird’s nidification. Hume found a nest with three newly fledged young ones near Fagoo (Simla) on the 11th May:—“The tree where I found the nest was situated on a steeply sloping hill facing the South, at an elevation of about 6,500 feet. The nest was about 50 feet from the ground and placed on two side branches just where, about six inches apart, they shot out from the side of the trunk. The nest was just like a Crow’s, a broad platform of sticks, but rather more neatly built, and with a number of green juniper twigs and a good deal of grey lichen intermingled. The nest was about 11 inches across and about 4 inches in external height. There was a broad, shallow, central depression 5 or 6 inches in diameter and perhaps 2 inches in depth, of which an inch was filled in with a profuse lining of grass and fir-needles.”
Mr. A. E. Jones writes (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxvi, p. 603):—“A nest I found on the 10th March, 1917, containing two young about five days old and an addled egg, was placed about 22 feet from the ground in a Deodar tree. It was supported by two horizontal branches where they sprang from the main stem. In appearance it resembled a Jay’s, but the exterior had, beside the twigs, a certain amount of lichen and dry Oak (Q. dilatata) leaves incorporated in it. Lined with dry grass, moss, lichen and fur. It measured externally 8 inches wide by 4 inches deep. Inside breadth 4 inches by 2.1/2 deep.”
Later, in a note to me, he adds :—“ This nest was taken at 7,500 feet in the Koti State. The tree in which it was placed was growing in mixed forest on a steep hill side facing East.” Two clutches of this bird’s eggs were sent to me by D. MacDonald from Gyantse, but I afterwards ascertained that they were taken from the North of the Chambi Valley in Sikkim. Of the four eggs three were smashed and of the three set all arrived in bits. They were said to have been taken from nests from which the first laying had been previously taken on the 5th March and eaten. They had fresh eggs again on the 30th April. Both nests were built in Deodar-trees, and the eggs sent exactly resembled those already described.
Whymper also found a nest of the Nutcracker being rifled by Crows in Tekri, Garhwal, at between 11,000 and 13,000 feet. A man sent up the tree was in time to rescue one of the eggs. The nest was found on May the 16th, when Whymper notes that all other clutches of Nutcrackers, which were common, had hatched out.
The eggs in colour are a very pale bluish-white with a few blotches and more numerous specks of dull brown and inky brown scattered over the whole surface, slightly more numerous at the larger than the smaller end. The two eggs measure 35.0 x 26.3 and 36.2 x 27.2 mm.

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: 
46. Nucifraga caryocataetes hemispila
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Himalayan Nutcracker
Nucifraga caryocatactes hemispila
Vol. 1

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