628. Prunella strophiata strophiata

(628) Prunella strophiata strophiata (Blyth).
Prunella strophiata strophiata, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 190.
The Western limits of this race seem to be Garhwal, thence Eastwards through Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet, but how far East in the last country is not yet known. Whymper found it a common bird in the Nila and other valleys in Garhwal, breeding between 13,000 and 16,000 feet. He also took one nest at Kalhar, in the Kuman, at 14,000 feet, which he considers was of this bird. In Tibet it seems to be common in many places, though Ludlow says he did not observe it round Gyantse. I have had, however, many nests sent me from the neighbourhood of Gyantse with parent birds, all labelled Gyantse, so they must breed close to that place. Others have been sent me from Hramtso and Chambi, Sikkim and Tibet.
In Nepal Hodgson says the Rufous-breasted Accentor breeds “from May to August on the high naked ranges of the Himalayas, in Sikkim and Nepal. The nest is placed upon the ground in tufts of sunputti-grass, and is composed of grass-roots and moss lined with sheep’s wool and the hairs of yaks. The nest is a hollow cup ; one measured externally 4.12 in diameter and 2.5 in height ; the cavity was 2.62 in diameter and 1.5 in depth. They lay three or four eggs.”
Several collectors in Tibet have found the nests built in low thorn-bushes, Roses, Dwarf Rhododendrons and Willows. Whymper found nearly all his nests in Willows and describes them “as out¬wardly not very tidy, made of grass, roots and moss, but finished off beautifully inside with moss and fine grass and lined well with wool, hair or fur.”
A. E. Osmaston also found them breeding in Willow-scrub. He writes (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxviii, p. 150, 1921):— “In the Gorthi Valley bordering Tibet I also met with this Accentor. During the first week of August I found three nests, from one of which the birds had already flown. The nests were placed 12" to 18" above the ground in low, rather dense willow-scrub (Salix sclero-phylla). They were rather deep, substantially built cups. On the outside were a few twigs or coarse herbaceous stems, and this was followed by masses of green moss, mixed with wool and hair (of the Marmot). Moss fructifications were conspicuous throughout the structure, and especially in the interior, but I doubt if they were collected separately from the moss itself. All these nests were at 13,500 ft. elevation.”
Whymper found three to be the normal clutch and in the large number of nests seen by him only one had four ; in fact early in 1906 he wrote :—“I never got more than three eggs and commonly two only.” In Sikkim and Tibet they lay three or four equally often.
The breeding season is principally June and July but a few birds may lay in the last week of May and a few others as late as the first half of August.
The eggs are like all other Hedge-Sparrows’ eggs, but it is notice¬able that many are long, pointed ovals, whilst the variation in size is very great.
Eighty eggs average 19.4 x 14.4 mm. : maxima 22.0 x 15.9 mm. ; minima 17.2 x 12.8 mm. The last measurements are really abnor¬mally small and the next smallest are 17.9 x 14.2 and 19.8 x 13.5 mm.
Both sexes take part in incubation but there is nothing on record as to the construction of the nest and whether it is carried out by both or by the female only.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
628. Prunella strophiata strophiata
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Rufous Breasted Hedge Sparrow
Prunella strophiata strophiata
Vol. 2

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