(15) Corvus monedula sœmmeringii.
The Eastern Jackdaw.
- Corvus sœmmeringii Fischer, Mém. Soc. Imp. Natur. Moscou, i, p. 3 (1811) (Moscow).
- Corvus monedula. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 22.
Vernacular names. Paya (Tibetan).
Description. Forehead and crown glossy black; nape and hind neck dusky grey; sides of the head and neck light grey, almost white, and forming a half-collar on the posterior portion of the side of the neck; lores blackish; upper plumage, wings and tail bluish black with a considerable amount of gloss; chin and cheeks black with grey shaft-streaks; throat and fore neck entirely black; remainder of lower plumage slaty black with very little gloss.
Colours of soft parts. Iris nearly white; legs, feet and bill black.
Measurements. Length about 320 to 340 mm.; wing 230 to 250 mm.; tail about 135 mm.; tarsus about 44 mm.; culmen 32 to 34 mm.
Distribution. Breeding from Eastern Russia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, through Asia as far east as the Yenesei and south to Persia, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Ladakh and Eastern Tibet. In winter it wanders into the plains, being numerous close to the Himalayas and having been found as far south as Ferozepore, Jhelum and Kalabagh, and as far east as Umballa.
Nidification. The Eastern Jackdaw breeds in great numbers in Kashmir, West Ladakh, Gilgit, etc., making its nest of all kinds of rubbish in old buildings, hollow trees and holes in cliffs. It lays four to seven eggs—of a very pale sea-green colour, sparsely marked with spots and specks of dark brown and purple. They average about 34.2 × 24.9 mm. in size but vary very much both in length and breadth, even in the same clutch. The breeding season commences in April but eggs may be found until the end of June.