(1054) Pyrrhospiza punicea humii.
The Western Bed-breasted Rose-Finch.
Pyrrhospiza humii Sharpe, Cat. B. M., xii, p. 433 (1888) (N.W. Himalayas). Pyrrhospiza punicea. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 211 (part).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Both sexes differ from the Eastern Bed-breasted Rose-Finch in being much paler in colour everywhere.
Colours of soft parts. " Iris hazel; bill light horny-brown, krwer mandible whitish; tarsus black " ( Whitehead).
Measurements the same as in the preceding race ; wing 102 to 115 mm.
Distribution. From Gilgit, throughout Kashmir to Simla States and Garhual.
Nidification. Whymper found this fine Finch breeding in Garhwal in the Nila Valley, but the nests ail had young. Later, Ward's collectors took two nests on the 7th June and 16th July at Chusal, Ladakh, each with two eggs. These are blue, or blue-green in ground-colour with a few spots of black about the larger end and measure about 25.0 x 17.2 mm. The nests were rather shallow cups of roots and coarse grass placed in scrubby thorn-bushes close to the ground. Stoliczka found it breeding in Rupshu, Ladakh, at about 14,000 feet and Whitehead found a nest being built on a ledge of rock at about 14,000 feet in the Khagan Valley.
Habits. This is a Finch of high elevations about which very little is known. In Summer it is found between 12,000 and 17,000 feet and in Winter between 9,000 and 12,000 feet. Stoliczka said that in Spiti and Ladakh it was observed "searching after food in the old camping grounds," presumably prospecting droppings for grain. Whitehead found it common between 12,000 and 14.000 feet in a " wild precipitous valley'" in the Khagan District, feeding largely on flowers and buds and the male singing short snatches of a soft, erratic, warbling song, Its call-note he remarks sounds like "are you quite ready."