Coccothraustes melanurus

Le Gros-bee de la Chine, Sonn. Voy. Ind. Orient, ii. p. 199 (1782).
Grey-necked Grosbeak, Lath. Gen. Syn. iii. p. 145 (1783).
Grey-necked Grosbeak, Gmel. Syst. Nat. Hist. vii. p. 140. Engl. edit. (1801).
Grey-necked Grosbeak, Lath. Gen. Hist. Birds, v. p. 250 (1822).
Loxia melanura, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i. p. 853 (1788) ; Lath. Ind. Orn. i. p. 389 (1790) ; Daud. Trait. d’Ornith. ii. p. 385 (1800) ; Shaw, Gen. Zool. ix. p. 312 (1815) ; Griff. Cuv. Anim. Kingd. Aves, ii. p. 156 (1829).
Coccothraustes melanura, Shaw, Gen. Zool. xiv. p. 87 (1824) ; Jard, et Selb. Ill. Orn. ii. pl. 63 (1837) ; Strickl. P. Z. S. 1842, p. 167 ; Gray et Mitch. Gen. Birds, ii. p. 358 (1844) ; Gray, Hand-List B. ii. p. 88 (1870) ; Gray, Fase. Birds China, p. 5. pl. vi. (1871) ; Blakiston, Birds Japan, p. 175 (1882) ; Blakiston, Amended List B. Japan, p. 30 (1884).
Hesperiphona melanura, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av. i. p. 506 (1850).
Eophona melanura, Gould. Birds of Asia, v. pl. 19 (1851) ; Gray, Gen. et Subgen. Birds, p. 71 (1855) ; Horsf, et Moore, Cat. B. Mus. E.-Ind. Comp. ii. p. 462 (1856-8) ; Swinh. Ibis, 1867, p. 390 ; Swinh. P. Z. S. 1870, p. 602, P. Z. S. 1871, p. 386 ; Swinh. Ibis, 1873, p. 372, 1875, p. 121 ; Dyb. Journ, fur Ornith. 1876, p. 199 ; Tacz. Bull. Soc. Zool. France, i. 1876, p. 181 ; David et Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 347, pl. 92 (1877).
Coccothraustes melanurus, Swinh. Ibis, 1860, p. 61, 1861, p. 45 ; Swinh. P. Z. S. 1863, p. 299 ; David, N. Arch. Mus. vii. Bull. p. 10 (1871) ; Ibis, 1872, p. 430 ; Blakiston et Pryer, Ibis, 1878, p. 246 ; Russ, Stubenvogel, p. 515 (1879) ; Scl. Vert. Anim. Zool. Soc. Gard. p. 255. pt. (1883) ; Seebohm, Ibis, 1884, p. 266.
Figures, Jard, et Selb. Ill. Orn. pl. 63. Gould, B. Asia, pl. 19 Gray, Fasc. B. China, pl. vi. David et Oust. Ois. Chine, pl. 92.
Chinese. Hou-eull.
English. Grey-necked Grosbeak. Black-tailed Grosbeak. Fork-tailed Hawfinch.
French. Le Gros-bee de la Chine. Le Gros-bec a queue noire.
German. Der Schwarzschwanzige Rernbeisser. Kernbeisser von China. Japanese. Shima-ikaru.
Habit it. China, migrating into North China and Siberia during the breeding season ; and Japan ? (Blakiston).
Male. Head glossy black, encircled by a greyish-white line, which is blended into the neck and throat ; hack dull chocolate-brown, blending on to the rump, which is ashy-grey with a white termination ; wings and coverts black, glossy steel-blue on the coverts and secondaries ; tips of primary-coverts, secondaries, and ends of primaries white ; upper tail-coverts and tail black, glossed with steel-blue ; centre of breast ashy-grey like the rump ; sides of chest and sides chestnut brown ; abdomen and under tail-coverts pure white ; thighs like the rump ; axillaries, and under wing-coverts black, tips white ; under surface of wing blackish ; iris brown ; bill yellow, base, tip and cutting edge purple, tinged with green ; feet fleshy-white : length 7.1, wing 3.95, tail 3.1, tars. 0.85, culm. 0.75.
Female. Similar to the male, but paler and without the black head, which is dark grey on the crown ; cheeks, and chin grey like the breast ; wings nearly black, glossy steel-blue on the secondaries ; lesser wing-coverts and tertials like the hind neck ; outer webs of great coverts, and inner web of tertials glossy black ; tips of primary-coverts, outer webs at the ends and tips of primaries, and tips of secondaries white ; rump dull grey, tinged with pale brown ; upper tail-coverts and centre tail feathers slaty-grey, the outer ones brownish, edges and tips steel-blue ; underparts like the male but paler ; iris brown ; bill yellow with a very slight purple tip ; feet fleshy-white : length 6.7, wing 3.75, tail 2.8, tars. 0.75, culm. 0.75.
Obser. The chestnut on the sides of the male is much richer in some specimens than others.
“Two males procured at Foochow with the ends of the primary quills entirely white. I have observed this peculiarity in individuals of this species before.” (R. Swinhoe).
THE Chinese or Black-tailed Hawfinch appears to be an extremely abundant species throughout the southern portions of China, and, according to the researches of travellers and ornithologists, it is found to extend its migration into Central and Northern China ; it is plentiful during the winter on the Amoy and in Eastern Siberia ; and Messrs. Blakiston and Pryer have stated that “a specimen supposed to be this species was obtained from a bird-dealer at Tokio, Japan,” and was in “the Educational Museum” of that place ; they say it is “about the size of C. japonicus. The bill is yellow, tipped with black. Head and neck black all round as far down as 12 millimetres behind the eye.”
The above description is conclusively that of the Black-tailed Haw¬finch, but in the ‘Amended List of the Birds of Japan,’ published in 1884 by the same authors, the species is marked “doubtful.”
Although I am unable to find another instance of its occurrence in Japan, I am inclined to retain it as an “accidental visitor.”
The following passage is from Mr. J. Gould’s ‘Birds of Asia ’:—“In a collection of birds obligingly lent me by J. R. Reeves, Esq., there are fine examples of this species, which had been procured in the neighbour¬hood of Shanghai ; Sir William Jardine gives the neighbourhood of Canton as a locality from which he had received specimens ; and I have also others from the island of Chusan ; it is evident, therefore, that its range extends over all those parts of China best known to Europeans. On a label attached to one of Mr. Reeves’ specimens, it is stated that the crop was filled with grain and a small mixture of gravel.”
Mr. R. Swinhoe “found it on the Amoy in winter,” and says it “leaves before summer. Breeds in Shanghai. Very abundant about Canton ; evidently breeds there in great numbers. I have not traced it further north ; also procured on the Woosung River near Shanghai ; at Foochow.”
In Mr. Swinhoe’s notes made at Chefoo, he says the “name in the MS. Illustrations of this species is Tsao-hwa (M. D. 10564, 4199), the Tsao-flower (a water-flag or lily).”
In ‘The Birds of China,’ published by MM. David and Oustalet, they state that "the Black-tailed Grosbeak is very common at all seasons in Southern and Central China, and advances in summer in little flocks as far as the Northern provinces : every year they catch some of these birds in the environs of Pekin, which the Chinese of the capital designate by the name of Hou-eull, and M. Dybowski has sent to the Warsaw Museum an individual of the same species taken in the environs of Abrek Bay in Eastern Siberia.”
Specimens examined.
No. Sex. Mus. Locality. Length. Wing. Tail. Tars. Culm.
a Male E. B. Amoy (R. Swinhoe). 6.5 3.85 2.8 0.85 0.75
b Male E. B. Amoy (R. Swinhoe). 7.1 4 2.75 0.8 0.8
c Female E. B. Amoy (R. Swinhoe). 6.3 3.75 2.7 0.7 0.75
d Female E. B. Amoy (R. Swinhoe). 6.7 3.75 2.8 0.75 0.75
e Female E. B. Amoy (R. Swinhoe). 6.6 3.85 0 0.75 0.75
f Female E. B. Amoy (R. Swinhoe). 6.7 3.75 2.6 0.75 0.75
g Male E. B. China 7.1 3.95 3.1 0.85 0.75
The figures are taken from cl and g, two specimens in my own collection.
The plant is Talauma Candollei.

A Monograph Ploceidae And Fringillidae
Bartlett, Edward. A Monograph of the Weaver-birds, Ploceidae, and Arboreal and Terrestrial Finches, Fringillidae. 1888.
Title in Book: 
Coccothraustes melanurus
Book Author: 
Bartlett, Edward
Page No: 
Common name: 
Black Tailed Hawfinch

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