111. Sitta castanea cinnamoventris

(111) Sitta castanea cinnamoventris Blyth.
THE CINNAMON-BELLIED NUTHATCH.
Sitta castaneiventris cinnamoventris, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol i, p. 125.
Sitta castanea cinnamoventris, ibid. viii, p. 598.
The Cinnamon-bellied Nuthatch breeds from Sikkim to the extreme East of Assam. It is very common South of the Brahma¬pootra, whence it extends into Manipur, the Lushai Hills and Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Gammie took a nest of this Nuthatch in Sikkim at 2,000 feet which was placed in a decaying bamboo 20 feet from the ground. The nest was so different from all those I have taken that I give Gammie’s description in full:—“The birds had made a small hole just below an internode and from the next internode below had filled up the hollow of the bamboo with alternate layers of green moss and pieces of tree bark, of about an inch or more square, to within a few inches of the entrance-hole. Each layer of moss was about an inch thick, but the bark layer not more than a quarter of an inch, the thickness of the bark itself. On the top of this pile, which was a foot high, was a pad three inches wide and two in depth, of fine moss, fur, a feather or two and a few insects’ wings intermixed, for the eggs to rest on. The fur looks like that of a rat.”
In North Cachar we found that almost invariably the birds laid in natural hollows in trees, making a nest of moss covered with a thick pad of fur as a receptacle for the eggs. The moss might be green or dry but very little else but moss was used. There might be a few pieces of bark or a few leaves or perhaps a little wind-blown rubbish under the moss, but nothing more. The fur was generally that of mice, shrews, rats or Bamboo Rats but, whatever it was, always very soft.
In the Khasia Hills trees were selected as nesting-sites about once only in every twenty times. The other nineteen were always places in holes in stone-retaining walls so beloved by many Titmice. The entrance to the hole, whether in tree or wall, was always reduced in size to a tiny circular hole, about 1.1/2 inches in diameter, by a substance like very hard clay. So addicted are the birds to this masonry work that often when the hole selected was already small enough the walls outside and inside would be plastered and just a coat put round the natural entrance. The bottom of the cavity was always filled with moss and, when it was large, this often took up an immense amount of material.
The birds are very close sitters and I have often taken them on their nests. They are also very persistent and sometimes when I have left the eggs after inspecting them the hen would return before I had left and, within a few minutes, the cock would be at work repairing damages to the masonry entrance.
They use the same nesting-site several years in succession if they are not interfered with and, sometimes, even when the nests are rifled by human beings, will return again and again and use the same hole, merely repairing the masonry. Some birds, however, quit as soon as the masonry has been tampered with. If a nest is interfered with by vermin they clear out at once.
The eggs number five to seven, four being occasionally incubated. In appearance they are just large replicas of the eggs of the preceding bird, rather more boldly marked on the whole yet not quite so densely as those of the Himalayan Nuthatch.
Sixty eggs average 19.8 x 14.1 mm : maxima 21.0 x 14.4 and 20.0 x 15.3 mm. ; minina 17.3 x 13.6 and 18.8 x 13.2 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
111. Sitta castanea cinnamoventris
Spp Author: 
Blyth.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
111
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
91
Common name: 
Cinnamon Bellied Nuthatch
M_ID: 
26401
M_CN: 
Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch
M_SN: 
Sitta cinnamoventris
Volume: 
Vol. 1
id: 
13316

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