(1083) Callacanthis burtoni.
The Red-browed Finch.
Carduelis burtoni Gould, P. Z. S., 1837, p. 90 (Himalayas, Srinagar, Kashmir). Callacanthis burtoni. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 226.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Male. Forehead, lores and feathers round the eye crimson; crown, nape, cheeks and ear-coverts black, the two last with whitish shafts; upper plumage and scapulars brown, very faintly tinged with rose-colour; tail black, tipped with white, narrowly on the centre tail-feathers, increasing in extent until nearly the whole of the inner web is white on the two outermost pairs; lesser and median wing-coverts black, edged with rosy-fulvous ; greater coverts and quills black, tipped with white, often with rosy-white; chin and throat rosy-red with black bases to the feathers ; remainder of lower parts rosy ochre-brown ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white with grey bases.
Colours of soft parts. " Iris hazel; bill in male horny, base of upper mandible and whole lower mandible dull yellow with dark tip; bill in female without the yellow tinge" (H. Stevem).
Measurements. Total length about 170 mm.; wing 95 to 102 mm.; tail 64 to 66 mm.; tarsus 20 to 21 mm.; culmen 14 to 15 mm.
Female. A narrow frontal line and round the eye bright ochre-yellow; crown and nape chocolate-brown with darker centres; upper plumage, lesser and median coverts ochraceous brown, the coverts tipped paler; remainder of wing and tail as in the male but duller; lower plumage ochraceous brown.
Distribution. Himalayas from Chitral and North Kashmir to Kuman and Simla States ; Nepal and Sikkim.
Nidification. Little is known about the breeding of this fine Pinch but it probably nests throughout its range at about 9,000 feet upwards wherever there are coniferous forests. Ward took its nest in Kashmir at 9,000 feet on Kolahir, and describes it as a small cup made almost entirely of needles of the blue pine. It contained three eggs. A nest obtained by Col. R. H. Rattray is said to have been made of sticks and moss lined with pine needles and roots. The three eggs obtained in this latter nest are very handsome eggs just like those of the true Rose-Finches. In ground-colour they are bright pale blue, the larger end boldly spotted and blotched with black, some of the blotches looking as if they had run into purplish-red round the edges. The three eggs measure 25.2 x 16.2, 23.2 x 16.6 and 23.9 x 16.3 mm. They were taken in Kashmir on the 25th of June.
Habits. Col. Magrath (Journal Bombay Nat. Hist. Society, xxi, p. 546) found this bird not uncommon in the Sind Valley between 9,000 and 10,000 feet, picking up seeds on the ground in thick undergrowth like the birds of the genus Perissospiza. It keeps much to the interior of deep forest but is not shy or intolerant oC observation. Its call-note is syllabified as " uh-eh" and its note of distress " tuee-yeh" Its flight Magrath likened to that of the Grosbeak.