117. Sitta leucopsis leucopsis

(117) Sitta leucopsis leucopsis Gould.
Sitta leucopsis leucopsis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol i, p. 130.
The White-cheeked Nuthatch breeds throughout the North¬-West Himalayas from Afghanistan and Baluchistan to Garhwal. It is a bird of high elevations ; in Chitral Fulton found it common in the Deodar forests from 7,000 to 12,000 feet ; Whitehead says that in Kohat and the Kurram it is equally common from 8,000 feet up to the limits of forests. In Kashmir it breeds lower down, to about 7,000 feet, but on the Murree Hills again it appears to keep above 8,000 feet.
So far as is recorded, these birds are entirely tree-nesters and seem to keep to trees in forest and, in preference, to Deodars, Pines and other coniferous trees. Rattray and other collectors all obtained numerous nests of this Nuthatch, but all refer to the difficulty of finding their nests on account of the great height at which they often make them. Skinner writes of a nest at forty feet from the ground ; Rattray in the Galis, near Murree, found others at over thirty, and so on, A favourite building-place is in a split in a tall tree-trunk. caused by lightning or by some disease, whilst many birds resort to holes in the trunks and branches just like others of their kind. The nest varies greatly. Rattray obtained nests which consisted of nothing but a few leaves and a little grass, whilst both he and Buchanan got others which were well madenests of moss with good linings of fur. I can fin d no record of this species ever using masonry round the entrance-hole to its nest, except that by Rattray who, in regard to one nest-hole, notes : “closed up with mud etc.” Whymper says definitely that they do not use mud in finishing off their nest-holes, whilst other observers make no reference to it.
May seems to be the principal breeding month, though Buchanan took several nests in June, one on the 17th and a second as late as the 28th of that month. On the other hand Whymper took a nest with four fresh eggs as early as the 28th April, 1910, at Harsil, Garhwal Hills.
The number of eggs is generally six to eight, but four and five have also been found incubated and I have heard of, but never seen, a clutch of nine. They are quite typical Nuthatch eggs and seem to vary to much the same extent as do those of the castanea group. As a whole they are well, but not richly, marked. In shape they are fairly true ovals, a few being rather broad.
Seventy-five eggs average 18.05 x 13.8 mm. ; maxima 19.2 x 14.4 mm. ; minima 17.0 x 12.9 and 17.4 x 12.4 mm.

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: 
117. Sitta leucopsis leucopsis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
White Cheeked Nuthatch
White-cheeked Nuthatch
Sitta leucopsis
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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