118. Sitta formosa Blyth

(118) Sitta formosa Blyth.
THE BEAUTIFUL NUTHATCH.
Sitta formosa, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 131.
This most beautiful Nuthatch is found, and of course breeds, from Sikkim to the Chin Hills, while it has also been recorded from the Salwin-Mekong Divide and in the North-East Shan States.
It appears to be a rare bird everywhere and its predilection for deep forest of lofty trees prevents easy observation. It seems only to occur at elevations over 5,000 feet and only exceptionally below 6,000 feet.
The first nest taken of this Nuthatch was by myself in North Cachar at 6,000 feet on the 30th April. It was placed about 25 feet up in a tall forest tree, one of a clump of about a dozen very large trees growing in among, and towering over, stunted Oaks. A bird flew out of a narrow crevice in a huge branch and disappeared like a blue flash without any chance of my seeing what it was. A Naga with me eventually succeeded in climbing up to the nest and reported that the crevice was blocked up with clay, leaving a hole into which he could insert two fingers. Breaking this down, he found a nest with six eggs just chipping. They were unblowable, but I measured them and found they averaged 21.1 x 15.6 mm., too big for any Nuthatch I knew. Replacing the nest and eggs, he set a noose and in less than five minutes the hen was back and caught. After examination she was released and eventually returned to the nest. This was merely a thick pad of fur, but under the pad there were said to be some leaves and chips of bark.
My second nest was taken at 6,200 feet in the Khasia Hills on the 1st June. This was placed in a very small hole in a dead Rhododendron, consisting of a pad composed entirely of fur of the Bamboo Rat. It contained four addled and very small eggs, though the bird sat on them until we were quite close to her. The entrance to this hole was finished off with a kind of clay all round.
Two other nests were taken for me by my Khasia collectors and sent to me with birds and nests. These two nests, one taken from a Rhododendron and one from a live Oak, were both in holes about 8 feet from the ground and in both cases composed entirely of fur of Bamboo Rats. One was taken on the 28th April and one on the 7th May.
The eggs, which would seem to number four to six, are just like very large eggs of the Cinnamon-bellied Nuthatch, perhaps, pro¬portionately, rather broader. The 20 eggs average, including the four small addled eggs, 20.8 x 15.3 mm. : maxima 23.7 x 15.9 and 23.2 x 16.0 mm. ; minima 18.0 x 14.7.

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: 
118. Sitta formosa Blyth
Spp Author: 
Blyth.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
118
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
98
Common name: 
Beautiful Nuthatch
M_ID: 
26472
M_CN: 
Beautiful Nuthatch
M_SN: 
Sitta formosa
Volume: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 
id: 
13323

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith