(1067) Carpodacus erythrinus erythrinus.
The Common Rose-Finch.
Loxia erythrina Pall., Nov. Comm. Petrop., xiv, p. 587 (1770) (South .Russia). Carpodacus erythrinus. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 219.
Vernacular names. Tuti or Lai Tuti (Hind.).
Description. - Adult male. Forehead, crown and nape crimson; back and scapulars light crimson-brown, the feathers edged with light olive-brown; wing-coverts light brown edged with rufous-pink ; quills brown edged with olive-brown ; lower back and rump rosy-red; tail brown edged with rufous-pink; lores and a line through the eye rufous-brown; ear-coverts mixed brown and crimson; chin, cheeks, throat and upper breast bright crimson, paler on the lower breast and flanks and albescent on the abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts; axillaries and under wing-coverts ashy, tinged and edged with pink.
"When freshly moulted and before the brown edges to the feathers have begun to wear away the whole tone is less bright, more brown and less crimson.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown or hazel-brown; bill horny-brown, darkest on the culmen, palest at the base; legs and feet dusky-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 165 mm.; wing 83 to 86 mm.; tail 55 to 60 mm.; tarsus about 17 mm.; culmen 9 to 10 mm.
Female. Whole upper plumage olive-brown, obsoletely streaked with darker brown, often hardly showing except on the head; the median and greater coverts and inner secondaries broadly tipped with very pale ochraceous; underparts dull olive-white, the sides of the chin and throat and the breast streaked with brown ; under wing-coverts and axillaries pale ochraceous grey.
Young males are like the females and often breed in this plumage.
Distribution. Breeding in Eastern Europe and Siberia as far East as the Lena. In Winter South to the whole of Europe, and in Asia South to India. There is one very typical specimen of this race in the British Museum from Agrore and other specimens from the North-West which also seem nearest to this race.
Nidification. This bird does not breed anywhere within our area. In Eastern Europe and Western Asia it breeds during May and June, making a loose, cup-shaped nest of grass and roots, lined with hair and placed low down in bushes either in scrub-jungle or in the open. The eggs, four to six in number, are of the usual blue of this genus, rather paler than most, spotted and speckled with blackish and very often with light reddish. Typically eggs of the G. erythrinus group are paler, less boldly and darkly spotted than those of the P. pulcherrimus group. Witherby in his 'Handbook of British Birds' gives the average of eighty-six eggs as 20.5 x 14.29 mm.
The breeding-season lasts from late May to early July.
Habits. The Common Rose-Finch is found in open country or in thin bush-cover and often frequents the vicinity of villages and habitations. In Winter it assembles in very big flocks and these are often composed entirely of one sex. The food consists of berries and seeds and, to a less extent, of shoots and buds. The notes are pleasant and in the breeding-season the male has a sweet Bullfinch-like song.