626. Prunella rubeeuloides

(626) Prunella rubeculoides (Moore).
THE ROBIN HEDGE-SPARROW.
Prunella rubeculoides, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 193.
The present species is the most widely spread of the genus, being found from the Afghan Frontier, through Kashmir, Kuman, Garhwal, Ladak, Sikkim and Tibet, to Western China in Setchuan, breeding at all elevations between 10,000 and 16,000 feet, but more often over than under 12,000.
In Ladak Ward says : “The Robin Accentor is one of the com¬monest of birds found in Ladak, making a rather large cup-shaped nest of coarse grass lined with goats’ hair, wool or some similar material. The nest is placed low down in bush-jungle and the birds seem to seek the vicinity of some stream.”
In Tibet it is very common, breeding in the higher ground sur¬rounding the Gyantse Plain. Many nests are placed in sedges or rushes growing alongside irrigation ditches or small streams, others in low bushes of thorny scrub ; sometimes in thick Salix and at other times on the ground in tussocks of grass or under bushes. Bailey took one nest near Dochen, in Tibet, at 15,500 feet, which was placed under a tuft of rushes by a stream and a second near Phari, under a bush of dwarf Rhododendron, at 14,500 feet. Ludlow also took two nests at Kaka which were built in sedges. In many parts of Tibet the bird must be very numerous, as I have certainly had sent to me five nests of this Prunella to every one of all the others put together, though some of these are by no means rare. Osmaston took many nests of this species in Ladak between 13,000 and 15,000 feet, all built in a small thorny “Tama” bush (Garagana sp.) and it is interesting to note that all his nests were made of grass and weed-stems, thickly lined with hair of Yak, Marmot and Hare.
Macdonald, Steen, Kennedy and others who have sent me eggs all describe the nests they found as being made principally of grass, often with long roots and weed-stems to assist in binding the nest, but nearly always with a mixture of moss. The nest found by Bailey at Dochen is described as “neatly constructed of moss, lined with hair and wool.”
Over the whole of the area in which they breed June seems to be the month in which the great majority of eggs are laid but a fair number are laid in July and a few at the end of May.
The eggs number three to five but the latter is exceptional, and I have had none such sent me.
They are quite indistinguishable from the eggs of other species of Prunella both in colour and texture.
Sixty eggs average 19.5 x 14.5 mm. : maxima 21.4 x 15.0 and 20.9 x 15.6 mm. ; minima 18.2 x 15.0 and 19.0 x 14.0 mm.
Unlike our English bird, which generally has two, and sometimes three, broods, all our Indian forms seems to be single-brooded. Ludlow found in Tibet that the birds were not shy. He notes :— “It has been stigmatized as a skulker in the new edition of the ‘Fauna,’ vol. ii. I cannot confirm this from my own experience, as I found it particularly confidential and conspicuous, especially in Winter.”

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
626. Prunella rubeeuloides
Spp Author: 
Moore
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
626
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
167
Common name: 
Robin Hedge Sparrow
M_ID: 
30261
M_CN: 
Robin Accentor
M_SN: 
Prunella rubeculoides
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13782

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