50. Podoces humilis

(50) Podoees humilis Hume.
Podoees humilis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 71.
This curious bird breeds from Yarkand to Tibet, Koko Nur and Kansu.
The first person to take their eggs appears to have been Capt. R. Steen, and eggs sent by him to Dresser are described in ‘ The Ibis,’ 1906, p. 344. The accompanying note by Steen is as follows :—
“These birds breed in June and July ; a nest found on the 1st July contained 3 young birds and one egg, while others found in July contained young birds. They are sometimes seen away from the localities inhabited by the little mouse-hares, but are generally associated with them. They dig holes for themselves in which they place their nests and do not make use of the holes of the mouse-hare, as does Montifringilla manddlii. The nest hole, excavated in the side of a nullah about 18 inches below the top, is straight and narrow until the nesting chamber is reached, too narrow for the hand to enter. At the end a considerable cavity is excavated, in which the abnormally large nest is placed, and this chamber varies in distance from the entrance from three to twelve feet. The nest is large, as much as fifteen inches in diameter, and consists of a loosely woven mass of grass, roots, moss, hair and wool, with no particular lining. The number of eggs laid varies from three to five.”
Ludlow gives a very similar description of the nest (Ibis, 1928, p. 55) but adds : “It breeds everywhere between Phari and Gyantse, sometimes in a bank, sometimes on hill slopes and sometimes in small ‘bunds,' separating the barley fields ..... Nest construction starts in May and eggs may be found in June and July. Two clutches which I obtained each contained six eggs.”
Six eggs in a clutch are probably unusual. Stein took thirty-eight eggs, many incubated, and since then I have received many clutches from Kennedy, Mackintosh, Macdonald and others but have never had more than four in a clutch and often three which were incubated.
Occasionally also they make use of a burrow of a mouse-hare, though this may be exceptional.
The eggs are pure white, close and fine in texture and fairly glossy. In shape they are true ovals but with the small end slightly compressed.
Thirty-two eggs average 22.9 x 16.4 mm. : maxima 24.4 x 17.3 mm. ; minima 21.3 x 16.0 mm.
My earliest eggs were taken on the 12th of May ; the latest appear to be four eggs taken by Steen on the 17th July.

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: 
50. Podoces humilis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Humes Ground Chough
Ground Tit
Pseudopodoces humilis
Vol. 1

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