1059. Propasser pulcherrimus puleherrimus

(1059) Propasser pulcherrimus pulcherrimus Blyth.
THE NEPAL BEAUTIFUL ROSE-FINCH.
Propasser pulcherrimus pulcherrimus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 126.
This Rose-Finch is distributed over practically the whole of the Western Himalayas as far East as Western Tibet.
Whymper writes of this bird’s nidification to me as follows :— “This Rose-Finch was a common bird in the Nila Valley, Garhwal, and still more so on the Pindari Glacier and Gangnani in the Kumaon, between 13,000 and 14,000 feet, and well above tree-level. At the same time I have seen a few nests in the highest birch-tree level of 11,000 and 12,000 feet, but this only occasionally, although they were so common 2,000 feet higher. At Gangnani I knew of 30 nests built on open, rather steeply sloping and rooky ground, on which grew stunted juniper and innumerable little prickly bushes of which I do not know the name. Most nests were built in the thorny scrub and only a few in the juniper, being placed about 2' from the ground and, as a rule, well hidden. Most nests were made almost entirely of grass lined with hair, mostly horse-hair or goat’s hair. Other nests were constructed of grass, roots, fibre of sorts, often a few tufts of wool, with a hning of wool, fur or hair. In shape the nests were rather deep cups, not badly made, and rather compact and neat for Rose-Finches’ nests. Until the clutch is complete the hen bird is very shy, and it is difficult to get a sight of her, but once all the eggs are laid she sits very tight. This is fortunate, as Carpodacus erythrinus and Propasser rhodochrous nest in the same regions, for the hen of pulcherrimus is easy to identify on the nest (by the presence or absence of the supercilium).
I think the hen bird alone incubates, as I have never seen the cock on the nest.
“The fall clutch of eggs is four or five, one as often as the other, and three never seem to be incubated. They breed from the latter half of July all through August and I took five nests on the 20th of the latter month, all with fresh eggs.”
A. E. Osmaston (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxviii, p. 151, 1921) found this Rose-Finch breeding about Girthi, on the borders of Tibet, and took three nests between the 3rd and 8th August at 13,000 to 13,500 feet. These “nests were placed 6" to 18" above the ground in hushes of Juniperus pseudosabinus. They were fairly deep cups, composed outside of the fibrous bark of juniper and Lonicera, with or without a little grass ; this was followed by a layer of fine roots mixed with a little sheep’s wool, and there was a final lining of hair, mixed in one case with red moss fructifications.”
As will be seen from the above, they are late breeders, and few birds lay before the 20th July, while others do not lay until the middle and end of August. In Whymper’s magnificent series of eggs, now in my collection, two out of every three clutches consist of four eggs, the third being of five, except in one case, which is a three. A. E. Osmaston records, however, all his nests as containing three eggs only, perhaps incomplete clutches.
They are quite typical Rose-Finch eggs, rather deep-blue-green, or turquoise blue, scantily but boldly spotted with black, a few eggs also having a broad streak or hieroglyphic. Very rarely an egg may be spotless or very nearly so, but I have never seen all the eggs of any one clutch unspotted. The texture is fine but not very close and the surface has a soft satiny sheen but no hard gloss.
In shape the eggs are broad ovals, sometimes rather pointed.
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.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1059. Propasser pulcherrimus puleherrimus
Spp Author: 
Blyth.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1059
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
45
Common name: 
Nepal Beautiful Rose Finch
M_ID: 
30692
M_SN: 
Carpodacus pulcherrimus pulcherrimus
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14154

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