(114) Sitta kashmiriensis.
Sitta kashmiriensis Brooks, P. A. S. B., 1871, p. 270 (Kashmir); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 303.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper plumage and wings slaty-blue; the usual black band through the eye; chin and sides of the face dull white tinged with fulvous: throat more fulvous, the lower plumage gradually becoming deeper and turning to deep chestnut on the abdomen, flanks and under tail-coverts ; middle tail-feathers ashy-blue, the next two pairs black edged and tipped with ashy; the next two black with a subterminal white spot on the inner web ; the outermost feather black, with a white patch on each web and a brown tip; under wing-coverts blackish with the usual white primary patch; under tail-coverts chestnut with traces of ashy centres.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red or red-brown; bill slaty-grey with black tip and paler base; legs greenish brown, yellowish brown or dull grey-brown.
Measurements. Length about 130 mm.: wing 81 to 85 mm.; tail about 40 to 44 mm.; tarsus about IS mm.; culmen about 18 to 19 mm.
Distribution. Himalayas, Afghanistan to Garhwal.
Nidification. This bird breeds in some numbers throughout Kashmir and in the Murree Galis. It selects holes in forest-trees at all heights from the ground, plastering up the entrance with the usual hard clay masonry and laying its eggs in April and May. These number four to seven and are quite typical. Fifty eggs average about 19.7 x 16.4 mm.
Habits. Those of the genus. This is a forest bird, haunting rather deep forest at heights between 6,000 and 9,000 feet, straggling both lower in the cold and higher in the hot weather. Whitehead found it fairly common in the Safed Koh between 7,500 and 10,000 feet.