(113) Sitta europaea nagaensis.
Sitta nagaensis Godw.-Aust., P. Z. S., 1874, p. 44 (Sopremak, Naga Hills); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 302.
Vernacular names. Daomojo-gophu (Cachari); Hnet-pya-chouk (Burmese).
Description. Upper plumage, closed wings and central tail-feathers slaty-blue-grey; a black line from the bill, through the eye to the nape; primaries and secondaries black on the inner webs; outer tail-feathers black, the three or four outer pairs with a white subterminal spot on the inner web and the outermost pair with an oblique white band on the outer edge; sides of the head and neck and lower plumage grey; sides of the body rich chestnut; lower tail-coverts white tipped and edged with chestnut; the usual white patch on base of quills.
The female only differs in being a trifle duller.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown, bill slaty-grey, the terminal half blackish; legs and feet greenish brown.
Measurements, Length about 130 mm.; wing 74 to 78 mm.; tail about 40 mm.; tarsus about 18 mm.; culmen about 15 mm.
Distribution. Hills South of the Brahmaputra, Chin Hills and .Kachin Hills. Kinnear's Sitta e. griseiventris (Bull. B. O. C. lx, p. 142, 1920) seems to be the same as this bird. It is possibly a purer grey, but as all the specimens of Austen's Nuthatch in the British Museum are very poor specimens and some of the Chin-Hills birds taken elsewhere are quite indistinguishable, I consider this name to be merely a synonym of nagaensis.
Nidification. This Nuthatch breeds in the Kachin Hills in April and probably also March and May. Eggs taken by Col. Harington were placed in the usual kind of holes in trees and were plastered up with clay masonry, reducing the entrance to a size just sufficient to allow ingress and egress to the parents. The nests were of moss with a lining of fur, and contained two to four eggs just like those of S. c. castaneiventris and measuring about 18.9 x 14.1 mm.
Habits. This is a forest form found up to the highest hills, 9,000 or 10,000 feet and apparently down to about 5,000 feet, below which S. c. neglecta takes its place.