315. Sitta himalayensis.
The White-tailed Nuthatch.
Sitta himalayensis, Jard. & Selby, Ill. Orn. iii, pl. 144 (1835); Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 720 ; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 385; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 56; Hume, N. & E. p. 161 ; Hume, Cat. no, 248; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 262 ; Gadow, Cat. B. M. viii, p. 340 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 192. Sitta nipalensis, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. v, p. 779. Sitta himalayana (Jard. & Selby), Blyth, Cat. p. 190.
Coloration. Male. The forehead, lores, and a streak behind the eye, produced down the side of the neck to the shoulders, black; an indistinct eyebrow fulvous-white ; upper plumage and wing-coverts dark slaty blue, somewhat paler on the head ; primaries and secondaries dark brown, edged with slaty blue; tertiaries wholly of this colour; middle pair of tail-feathers slaty blue, the basal half of the inner web and a band next the shaft on the outer web white ; the next two pairs wholly black ; the next black, with an ashy tip; the next black, with an oblique white band and an ashy tip; the outermost similar, but with more white; sides of the face below the black streak and the chin pale fulvous; the lower plumage from the chin downwards chestnut, gradually getting darker and becoming rich chestnut on the flanks and under tail-coverts ; under wing-coverts black, followed by a white patch on the primaries visible only from below.
Female. Resembles the male, but is somewhat paler beneath.
Legs and feet olive-brown; soles olive-yellow ; iris pale brown; bill black, the gape and part of the lower mandible bluish white (Hume).
Length nearly 5 ; tail 1.5 ; wing 2.9 ; tarsus .7 ; bill from gape .75.
Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas from Kangra to Bhutan at elevations of from 5000 to about 10,000 feet, occasionally 11,000 feet, at which altitude Blanford procured a specimen in Sikhim. Godwin-Austen also procured this species at Aimul in the Manipur hills.
Habits, &c. Breeds in the Himalayas from April to June, making a nest of moss in a hole of a tree at no great height from the ground, and laying five or six eggs, which are white marked with red, and measure .72 by .55.