The genus Nucifraga contains the Nutcrackers, birds of well-marked form and colour, two of which are found within Indian limits inhabiting the higher parts of the Himalayas, where they are resident.
In the Nutcrackers the plumage is more or less spotted; the bill is straight, pointed, and about as long as the head ; the naral bristles are short and stiff and completely cover the nostrils ; the wings are strong, but the tail is short and very little rounded.
The Nutcrackers are chiefly arboreal in their habits and they prefer forests of pine and cedar trees, on the seeds of which they largely subsist; but they also eat other seeds and fruits and also insects. Their notes are harsh and loud. They build large nests, like those of crows, high up in trees, and their eggs are spotted with brown.
Near this genus should come Podoces, a genus of birds found in Tibet and Central Asia. Hume inserts one species in his Catalogue; but it does not occur within strict Indian limits.
Key to the Species.
a. Rump and upper tail-coverts not marked with white …………………N. hemispila, p. 41.
b. Rump and upper tail-coverts marked with white ………………N. multipunctata, p. 41.