(1073) Erythrospiza mongolica.
The Mongolian Desert-Finch.
Carpodacus mongolicus Swinhoe,P.Z. S., 1870, p. 447 (Nankow Pass). Erythrospiza mongolica. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 222.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Male. Very much like the Eastern Desert-Finch but rather darker and more decidedly brown above; the crown is never grey and as soon as the feathers get a little abraded there is a distinct, though narrow, crimson-pink supercilium ; the rose-pink on the wing-feathers and on the rump is generally much deeper, this colour on the greater coverts sometimes becoming pure crimson.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill pale fleshy, yellowish-fleshy or pale horny-brown ; legs and feet pale fleshy-yellow or yellowish brown.
Measurements. Total length about 150 mm.; wing 88 to 93 mm.; tail 55 to 56 mm; tarsus about 17 mm.; culmen 8 to 9 mm.
Female and young male similar to the male but without the rosy tinge.
Distribution. Central Asia to Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Gilgit; Turkestan East to Mongolia and North-West China. It probably also breeds in North-West Kashmir and certainly does so in the mountains of the North-West Frontier. In Winter South to Sind, the Punjab, North-West Provinces and Rajputana.
Nidification. This Desert-Finch appears to be resident throughout the greater part of its range, breeding in May and June, making a cup-shaped nest of plant stems and grass lined with goats' hair. It is placed in bushes and low trees and sometimes on the ground in a tuft of grass. The eggs, four or five in number, are greenish-white rather feebly marked at the larger end with specks, spots and a line or two of blackish. They measure from 17.9 x 13.4 mm. to 20.4 x14.6 mm.
Habits. Like the last bird this Finch is a frequenter of bare open country, barren hills and stony plains interspersed with vegetation and patches of cultivation. It is active and swift both on the ground and in flight and has a sweet song during the breeding-season. Though actually a resident bird in its Summer haunts it often wanders considerably in Winter, when it gathers in large flocks.