570. Turdus merula albocinctus

(570) Turdus merula albocinctus Royle.
THE WHITE-COLLARED BLACKBIRD.
Turdus merula albocinctus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 129.
The White-collared Ouzel breeds throughout the Outer Himalayas, from Eastern Kashmir, the Simla States, Garhwal Hills, Nepal and Sikkim to Eastern Assam, North of the Brahmapootra. South of this river it may possibly breed on the higher ranges of the Naga Hills East to the Patkoi Range, but it does not ever breed in Manipur or the hills of the Surrma Valley.
It is a bird of considerable elevations. Whymper found it breeding at Kharak, Kuman, at 10,000 feet, and again in the Garhwal Hills at 9,000 feet. He remarks : “ ..... but they breed much lower ; I always found a few in China Pahar, near Naini Tal, at 7,000 feet, though this was the lowest elevation at which they bred. In Winter they descend to the foothills if the seasons are very severe.” In Dinsur, Kuman and Chakrata Osmaston found them breeding between 8,000 and 9,500 feet, whilst in Sikkim Stevens found it between 5,000 and 10,000 feet and Blanford records it as high as 13,000 feet in Summer.
Osmaston describes the nests as “massive cups made of moss chiefly outside, together with grass, roots, a few leaves and sometimes a certain number of twigs, usually small and pliable ones. The lining is nearly always of dried grass only, and roots are not used by the White-collared Blackbird for this purpose. The small Karshu oak seems a favourite tree as a site for the nest, a stout branch, often covered with moss, being selected for the purpose, at any height between five and twelve feet from the ground. I have also taken nests from Holly trees and Spruce firs, whilst occasionally they are built on the ground at the foot of trees growing on banks or steep hill-sides.”
Whymper describes the nest as above, but found the sites most often selected were large cavities in Birch-trees or on Willow- trees which had been beaten down and bent by the snow.
They breed in forest, generally rather open rather than dense, while occasionally they make use of Oaks and Spruces standing almost in the open. They also seem to prefer those standing on the slopes and more broken hill-sides.
The breeding season would appear to be very restricted. Osmaston took his very fine series of eggs between the 5th May and the 21st June ; Whymper obtained all his, another fine series, between the middle of May and the end of June, whilst Rattray found eggs about Murree up to the end of June and Otto Muller and Stevens each took a nest in Sikkim and Eastern Nepal in May.
The normal full clutch of eggs is three, but about one clutch in every ten numbers four.
The eggs are typical of the genus but are much more of the true Blackbird type than are the more Thrush-like eggs of the southern Thrushes ; indeed, many eggs only differ from reddish eggs of the common Blackbird in being larger and rather more boldly blotched. The greenish type is quite exceptional. A few clutches are decidedly handsome, the greyish-green ground being heavily blotched all over with chestnut or reddish-brown, with many secondary blotches of pinkish-lavender or neutral tint. I have seen no eggs with the blue ground comparatively scantily marked, such as are so common in the eggs of the Nilgiri and other southern Thrushes.
One hundred eggs average 30.5 x 21.7 mm. : maxima 34.2 x 22.0 and 29.2 x 23.0 mm. ; minima 27.5 x 21.0 and 32.2 x 20.0 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
570. Turdus merula albocinctus
Spp Author: 
Royle.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
570
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
116
Common name: 
White Collared Black Bird
M_ID: 
27313
M_CN: 
White-collared Blackbird
M_SN: 
Turdus albocinctus
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
13744

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