764. Erythrospiza mongolica.
The Mongolian Desert-Finch.
Carpodacus mongolicus, Swinh. P. Z. S. 1870, p. 447, 1871, p. 387 ; Scully, S. F. iv, p. 169; id. Ibis, 1881, p. 577. Erythrospiza incarnata, Severtz. Turkest. Jevotn. pp. 64, 117 (1873) : Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 82. Erythrospiza mongolica (Swinh), Hume, S. F. ix, p. 347 note; Biddulph, Ibis, 1882, p. 282; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 287.
Coloration. Male. After the autumn moult the whole upper plumage and lesser wing-coverts sandy brown, the centres of the feathers almost everywhere darker brown, the lower rump suffused with rosy; tail brown, broadly edged with pale buff: median wing-coverts brown, edged with rosy buff; greater coverts brown, subterminally darker and broadly edged with rosy red; winglet very dark brown, edged with buff; primary-coverts paler brown, edged with buff; quills brown, the outer webs whity brown, and most of them suffused with rosy red on the greater part of the web ; tertiaries pale buff, with the middle portion brown; ear-coverts and sides of neck brown ; lores, round the eye, the cheeks, and the whole lower plumage, except the abdomen and under tail-coverts, pale rosy pink; the two latter parts pale isabelline.
In the spring and autumn the rosy tinge on the plumage everywhere is much brighter owing to the wearing away of the margins of the feathers, and the outer webs of the quills and coverts become crimson in many birds.
Female. Very similar to the male in autumn, but with the rosy tinge much paler and entirely absent on the rump.
Bill and legs pale fleshy ; iris dark brown (Murray).
Length about 5.5; tail 2.3 ; wing 3.6 ; tarsus .7 ; bill from gape .45.
Distribution. Resident in Gilgit from 5000 to 10,000 feet according to season. To the west this Finch extends to Afghanistan. It is spread over a considerable portion of Central Asia and ranges to China.
Habits, &c. Occurs in large flocks throughout the winter.
The following two birds are likely to be found in India proper, but are not yet known to occur there :—
Rhodopechys sanguinea (Gould), entered by Hume in his Catalogue with a note of doubt. A fine Finch with a wing over four inches, the bases of all the quills largely white and the outer webs of the quills and coverts a beautiful rosy red, paler in the female. Occurs in Yarkand.
Rhodospiza obsoleta (Licht.). Sandy brown throughout, with the outer webs of the primaries pure white and those of the secondaries and greater coverts pink. Occurs in Afghanistan and Yarkand.