(1072) Erythrospiza githaginea crassirostris.
The Eastern Desert-Finch.
Carpodacus crassirostris Blyth, J. A. S. B., xvi, p. 476 (1847) (Afghanistan). Erythrospiza githaginea. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 221.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Adult male. Feathers of forehead and round the bill rose-pink or rose-red; crown and sides of the head grey; back and scapulars pale greyish fulvous ; upper tail-coverts rose-pink with greyish bases; tail dark brown edged with vinous grey; visible portions of closed lesser and median coverts rosy-grey ; greater coverts and winglet dark brown, broadly edged with rosy ; quills dark brown edged with bright rosy-grey, the innermost secondaries with very broad outer rosy edges and narrower grey tips and inner edges ; below a beautiful pale rosy-grey, more vinous on the breast and inclined to fulvous about the vent.
After the Autumn moult and until the feathers get sufficiently abraded to show the rose-colour the whole appearance is much more grey.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill scarlet or orange in the breeding-season, paler and more waxy-yellow in Winter ; legs and feet fleshy or horny-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 150 mm.; wing 85 to 91 mm.; tail 51 to 55 mm.; tarsus about 19 mm.; culmen about 9 mm.
Female. Similar to the male but with no rosy tinge in "Winter and in Summer with only a faint flush on the lower surface, rather more pronounced on the chin, throat and rump.
Distribution. Breeding in Afghanistan, Baluchistan and the North-Western Frontier mountains of India. In Winter common in parts of Sind and it has been once obtained in Jodhpur and once by Hutton in the Gurgaon District, Punjab.
Nidification. This Finch apparently breeds in the hills about Quetta and Mr. F. Williams informs me that he has taken the nest and eggs but I have no details. Tomlinson obtained it, breeding, near Ahwaz in Mesopotamia in March.
Habits. Hume found this bird in flocks feeding on the ground in patches of mustard cultivation close to the foothills in Sind. They were very numerous, very tame but very active on their feet and, at a short distance, looked like a party of hen-sparrows.