Family Crows and Jays (Corvidae)

Least Concern

Southern Nutcracker (Nucifraga hemispila)


French: Cassenoix de Chine German: Fichtenhäher Spanish: Cascanueces sureño

Nucifraga hemispila


, 1831,

Himalayas = Simla–Almora district


Hitherto treated as conspecific with (albeit forming its own group within) N. caryocatactes, but differs in its greatly reduced white spotting on back and underparts (2); much darker brown crown (2); lack of white tail tips but much greater length of white on outer rectrices (3); longer tail (effect size of nominate vs N. c. macrorhynchos 5.14, score 3); much slower rattle-call (0.032–0.042 [n=8] sec vs 0.017–0.023 sec [n=6], both involving recordings from across respective ranges) (3)#R. Usually treated as conspecific with N. multipunctata; intermediate individuals extremely rare. Nominate hemispila intergrades with macella in Darjeeling area of N India. Proposed race yunnanensis (Yunnan, in S China) included in macella. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. h. hemispila Vigors, 1831 – Himalayas from W Himachal Pradesh (Chambal) E, S of the Pir Panjal, to Nepal and N India (Darjeeling).
  • N. h. macella Thayer & Bangs, 1909 – E Himalayas from E Nepal and Sikkim E to NE India (Arunachal Pradesh), N Myanmar and S & C China (Qinling Mts of S Shaanxi and NW Hubei, S through Sichuan to SE Xizang and Yunnan).
  • N. h. interdicta O. Kleinschmidt & Weigold, 1922 – E China (SW Liaoning S to Shanxi, N Hebei and Henan).
  • N. h. owstoni C. Ingram, 1910 – Taiwan.
  • Descriptive notes

    [Content coming soon]

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J. & Collar, N. (2017). Southern Nutcracker (Nucifraga hemispila). 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 18 November 2017).