Wallcreeper Tichodroma Muraria nepalensis
- Tichodroma : Greek word teikhos- wall; dromos -runner.
- Muraria : Latin word for wall derived from murus –wall
- Nepalensis – From Nepal
Vernacular Names : Pushtu: Dewal gaiyuk, Kash: Lamba dider, H.P.: Suppurotsu, Pun: Kandh charhi, Lepcha: Sag-forsa-lamdong-pho
Distribution in India: Resident of Himalayas, winter visitor to foothills and plains
Description: Size of 16·5–17 cm; wt. of 16·7–19·3 g (nominate), wt of 13–20 g (nepalensis). It is small, has a thin, slightly decurved bill, and strikingly patterned large, broad, round-ended wings. The male of nominate race in breeding is medium grey above; lesser and median upperwing-coverts are carmine-pink, also red-pink partially on alula, primary coverts and greater coverts, with inner greater coverts much duller. The underwing-coverts and axillaries are pale red-pink; flight-feathers are dark grey with carmine-red bases of outer edges and sooty-black ends. There are two white spots (small inner and large outer) on each of four long outer primaries (wing pattern striking in flight, also when wing-flicking at rest). The tail is black, tipped grey, white on outermost feathers; chin to breast are black, rest of underparts are dusky grey. The iris is dark brown; bill and legs are black. The female in breeding is similar to male, but generally has lower throat to upper breast as greyish-white with mottled black patch of variable size. In non-breeding plumage both sexes are paler grey above, chin to breast is whitish without dark throat patch. The juvenile is like non-breeding adult, but more uniformly grey, tinged brown on throat, with bill shorter and straighter. The race nepalensis has longer wing but shorter bill than nominate, larger white spots on wing and tail, is darker grey above and below, yellow-ochre or buff-brown tinge on head, more often tinged pink at base of tail.
Habitat: It is found in rocky regions steep, rugged cliffs and boulder-strewn slopes, and damp, shady gorges in mountains, with holes and crevices for nesting and roosting; rocks generally interspersed with grassy ledges, herbaceous plants, moss, shrubs and trees. A mix of sunlit and shaded areas is important for its foraging. It is found from 350m to 5100m.
Food Habits: It eats insects, including adults, larvae and eggs, spiders, damselflies, stoneflies grasshoppers and crickets. It usually forages alone. Progresses mainly with short, jerky hops, sometimes with sidling, creeping and walking; on vertical surfaces sometimes makes upward leap accompanied by single rapid wing beat. Takes prey from surface of rocks or among vegetation on ledges; also investigates holes and tunnels of various kinds, and extricates prey from cracks and crevices. Some prey taken in flight. It searches for food on ground, sometimes turning over leaf litter and small stones, using the closed bill for this purpose. Larger prey usually carried to a large flattish stone or other flat area and beaten against substrate until dismembered.
Breeding habits: They breed in May–Jul in Himalayas. It is a Solitary and territorial breeder. The nest is built of moss, plant fibres, rootlets and grass, with hair, wool and feathers densely matted together, sometimes as lining, for insulation, placed in cleft in rock ,between or behind rocks or boulders, sometimes on or inside building. They lay a clutch of 3–5 eggs. The incubation is done by female. The incubation period is 19 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, male bringing most of food. The nestling period is 29 days. The juveniles are fed by parents for several days after leaving nest.