592. Arceuthornis viscivorus bonapartei

(592) Arceuthornis viseivorus bonapartei (Verr.).
THE HIMALAYAN MISSEL-THRUSH.
Arceuthornis viseivorus bonapartei, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 154.
The range of this fine Missel-Thrush extends from Transcaspia throughout Central Asia as far South as the Himalayas, as far Bast in these mountains as Nepal and, in the North, as far Bast as Transbaikalia. I have also had three clutches of their eggs from Northern Tibet.
Whitehead found them breeding on the North-West Frontier in the Kurram Valley at 9,500 feet ; they breed commonly in many parts of Kashmir from 6,000 up to 10,000 feet and probably higher, whilst Whymper obtained them in Kuman, below the Pindari glacier, at about 12,000 feet. At Murree Rattray found them bleeding on Nagtiba at about 9,000 feet and took two nests.
In Hume’s time the breeding of the Himalayan Missel-Thrush was not well known but he gives a good description of a nest taken by himself which would do for almost any other. He writes :— “I, as yet, only know of the Missel-Thrush breeding in the valleys of the Beas and the Sutlej, at elevations of from 6,000 to 8,000 feet. I have only taken one nest myself, but have had several sent me, and I find by my notes that the earliest was taken on the 6th April, the latest on the 22nd June. The nests are large deep cups, very like those of the Blackbirds, always placed, as far as my experience goes, in forks of trees, at no great elevation from the ground. The core is composed of clay and grass-stems, founded on a lot of dry leaves, fern, etc. ; externally there is a very thick coating of moss, grass and lichen, while internally there is a thick lining of soft grass. The nest I obtained above Juggut Sook, in the valley of the Beas, measured in situ 8 inches in diameter and nearly 6 inches in height externally.”
As sites for their nests Missel-Thrushes seem to select very exposed positions in small trees quite in the open or in orchards and round about villages. Ward speaks of one nest sent me as being “very exposed and about six feet from the ground, built in an orchard and visible from a distance all round.” When built in Deodars, Silver Firs, or similar trees, the dense foliage prevents them being seen from any distance, but they are nearly always placed on a stout branch next the trunk or in a fork quite low down, so that they cannot be overlooked by anyone close to them.
May and June appear to be the two regular breeding months, a good many birds commencing in April, the dates given by Hume covering all the many nests of which I have records. Both birds take part in incubation and both assist in the building of the nest. Incubation in the British race is said to take 14 or 15 days and is, probably, the same with our Indian bird.
The eggs number three to five, generally four, and are much the same as those of the English race but, as a series, less green and more livid pinkish. The ground varies from pale greenish-grey or, rarely, a clearer pale green to a dull livid pinkish. The markings, which are freely but not thickly scattered over the whole surface, consist of primary small blotches of light to darkish red-brown. These are generally rather more numerous towards the larger end but never form caps or zones. The secondary blotches, very seldom as numerous as the primary, are of pinkish-lavender. The eggs do not vary much but I have one clutch which has a pale clear sea-green ground, freckled, rather than blotched, with light reddish and lavender.
In shape they are rather long ovals, mostly blunt but, sometimes, quite pointed at the smaller end. The grain is rather coarse but the surface hard and smooth, with a gloss, sometimes much developed.
Fifty eggs average 31.3 x 22.4 mm. : maxima 34.0 x 23.0 and 30.6 x 23.6 mm. ; minima 27.4 x 21.4 and 28.5 x 20.7 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: 
592. Arceuthornis viscivorus bonapartei
Spp Author: 
Verr.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
592
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
134
Common name: 
Himalayan Missel Thrush
M_ID: 
27413
M_SN: 
Turdus viscivorus bonapartei
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
13758

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