(1059) Propasser pulcherrimus pulcherrimus.
The Beautiful Rose-Finch.
Propasser pulcherrimus Blyth, Cat. Birds Mus. E. I. Co., ii, p. 460 (1858) (Nepal); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 215.
Vernacular names. Golabi Tuti (Hind.).
Description. - Male. Some feathers of the forehead, a long supercilium, cheeks, ear-coverts and chin bright rosy-red, but with the black-brown bases of the feathers showing through everywhere ; upper plumage ashy-brown with broad central streaks of blackish brown, the head dark and tinged with rosy; lower rump pale rosy; shorter upper tail-coverts rosy-red with black shafts, longer coverts with brown tips ; wing-coverts dark brown edged with ashy-rufous ; primaries and outer secondaries narrowly edged with ashy-rufous; inner secondaries broadly edged with the same and paler at the tips; flanks brown with broad black streaks; remaining lower plumage rose-red; the under tail-coverts with dark centres.
Many birds, possibly young, have the feathers of the breast and abdomen with black shafts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill horny-brown, the lower mandible paler ; legs rosy flesh-colour or rosy-horny.
Measurements. Total length about 155 mm.; wing 76 to SO mm.; tail 62 to 64 mm.; tarsus about 20 mm.; culmen 10 to 11 mm.
Female. An indistinct but rather broad supercilium pale fulvous ; remaining upper plumage fulvous-brown broadly streaked with dark blackish brown; whole lower plumage fulvous-white, streaked with dark brown.
Distribution. Himalayas, Kuman to Sikkim and West Tibet. I can find no character by which it is possible to distinguish Hume's ambiguus from the typical form.
Nidification. The Beautiful Rose-Finch breeds between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, generally below 14,000 and, according to Stoliczka, sometimes as low as 7,000 feet during July and August, more rarely in June. It makes a compact, rather deep nest of grass, roots, the fibrous bark of the Juniper and, occasionally, a few small twigs, well lined with hair or fur. The site selected is one low down in a bush, preferably a thorny one, in scrub-jungle. The eggs number three to five and are a bright Hedge-Sparrow's egg blue, sparsely speckled and dotted at the larger end with black. Often there are one or two bold black spots larger than the rest. One hundred eggs average 19.5 x 14.6 mm.: maxima 21.2 X 15.0 mm. ; minima 17.6 X 14.0 and 18.7 X 13.6 mm.
Whymper says that it is a very close sitter once incubation commences.
Habits. In Summer this Finch keeps generally to heights from 12,000 feet up to the snow-line, in Winter descending to at least 7,000 feet. It is said to be a rather tame and confiding bird, associating in flocks of considerable size and frequenting both forests and steep hill-sides covered with scrub-jungle. It is credited with rather a sweet little song in the breeding-season.