(47) Nucifraga multipunctata.
THE LARGER-SPOTTED NUTCRACKER.
Nucifraga multipunctata Gould, P.Z,S.,1849; p. 23 (N.W. Himalayas) ; Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 41.
Vernacular names. Khak-kharra (Pushtu); Tong-she-sha-ga (Tibetan).
Description. Differs from the Himalayan Nutcracker in being darker, a chocolate rather than an umber-brown, and in being much more profusely marked with white. The lores and narial bristles are white or black and white; the rump and upper tail-coverts have a white spot on each feather; the wing-coverts and quills are more profusely spotted with white, and the white on the lower plumage is so extensive as to sometimes make this look almost wholly white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red-brown; bill horny brown; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Length about 350 mm.; wing 190 to 210 mm., average about 200 or rather less; tail 160 to 170 mm.; tarsus about 40 mm.; bill about 50 mm. and decidedly more slender than in hemispila and its subspecies.
Distribution. N.W. Himalayas from Afghanistan, Gilgit, Kashmir, Ladakh to S.E. Tibet, whence I have had specimens sent me. Chambi Valley in Tibet and Sikkim.
Nidification. Eggs sent me by Mr. D. Macdonald with the parent birds from the Chambi Valley are exactly like those of the European Nutcracker, very pale blue-green speckled with dark brown sparsely everywhere and a little more numerous at the larger end. They measure about 33.6 x 24.6 mm.
The nests were, said to be neat facsimiles of those of the Indian House-Crow, but neater and with a lining of pine-needles.
Habits. These differ in no way from those of the last bird. Osmaston says that it feeds principally on the seeds of the Blue Pine (Pinus excelsa) and of the Spruce (Picea morinda).