Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Large-spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga multipunctata)


French: Cassenoix du Cachemire German: Himalajahäher Spanish: Cascanueces del Himalaya
Other common names: Kashmir Nutcracker

Nucifraga multipunctata


, 1849,

north of the Pir Panjal Range, in Kashmir


Split fairly recently#R#R from N. caryocatactes (including N. hemispila), although sometimes still treated as conspecific#R. Differs from N. caryocatactes in its broad white spotting covering entire body apart from crown (3); much darker brown crown, hence contrasting with paler brown back (2); and much longer tail (effect size 6.95; score 3). Differs from N. hemispila in its broad white spotting covering entire body apart from crown (4); darker brown body plumage (although this apparent only as dark edges to bold white markings) (2); longer tail (effect size 2.25; score 2); moreover, it appears to be parapatric with nominate race of N. hemispila in NW Himalayas beyond Pir Panjal Range. Monotypic.


From E Afghanistan (NE Paktia and Nuristan), N & W Pakistan (Fort Sandeman N along Suleiman Range, Chitral, Gilgit, Baltistan) and Kashmir (Sind Valley, Kishtwar, Badrawar) E into NW India (E to Lahul, in Himachal Pradesh) and possibly adjacent extreme SW Xizang.

Descriptive notes

35 cm; 155–177 g. Distinctive corvid with boldly spotted plumage, ­appearing largely whitish at long range; medium-short tail slightly rounded at corners,... read more


Poorly documented, and probably much as for N. caryocatactes. Said to have harsh grating... read more


Coniferous forest and mixed conifer and oak (Quercus) forest where conifers predominate,... read more

Food and feeding

Few data. Conifer seeds taken; in Kashmir, reported as moving our of conifer forests to take walnuts (Juglans) and hazelnuts (... read more


Poorly documented. Season often stated to be May–Jul, but likely to commence egg-laying much earlier, probably late Feb and Mar;... read more


Resident; descends to somewhat lower levels in late summer to collect nuts for winter stores.

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Thought not to be globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Western Himalayas EBA. Common. Not well known, as formerly considered a race of ... read more

Recommended citation

Madge, S. (2020). Large-spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga multipunctata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 30 March 2020).