753. Pyrrhospiza punicea.
The Red-breasted Rose-Finch.
Pyrrhospiza punicea, Hodgs. Blyth, J. A. S. B. xiii, p. 953 (1844); Blyth, Cat. p. 121; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 461; Jerd. B. I. ii, p, 406; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 60 ; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 66; Hume, Cat. no. 747; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 431; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 152. ? Pyrrhospiza humii, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 433.
The Large Red-breasted Finch, Jerd.
Coloration. Male. The forehead and a broad but short supercilium crimson, each feather tipped with black or dusky; crown, nape, back, and scapulars black, each feather margined with light brown ; rump rosy red with dusky tips ; upper tail-coverts brown, with black shafts ; wing-coverts dark brown with pale brown margins, the lesser series washed with rosy; quills and tail dark brown, very narrowly margined paler; a streak behind the eye and the sides of the neck and of the body pale brown, streaked with dark brown; cheeks, ear-coverts, chin, throat, and breast crimson, most of the feathers with white terminal shaft-streaks; abdomen ashy brown, sparingly streaked with black; under tail-coverts brown, margined with pink.
Female. The whole upper plumage, wings and tail, sides of the head and neck dark brown, each feather margined with pale brown and those of the rump with dull greenish; lower plumage pale fulvous with narrow black streaks, the breast more or less suffused with buff.
Bill horny brown.
Length 7.5; tail 3.2 ; wing 4.4; tarsus .9 ; bill from gape .6.
Sharpe has separated as a subspecies, under the name of P. humii, a pale race of this bird with the red parts of the head and breast rosy, not crimson, and the brown of the back quite pale. The frontal band is also much broader, extending back as far as the middle of the eye. The female has the rump-feathers broadly margined with olive-yellow. In the British Museum there is a pair of these birds procured in Kansu; one bird from Tibet; another from the " Borenda Pass ; " and a fifth from Kotgarh. Altogether I am not satisfied that this race, as found in the Himalayas, is worthy of separation from P. punicea.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikhim, at elevations of from 10,000 to 17,000 feet, according to season, and extending into Tibet and Western China.
Habits, &c. Stoliczka found this Finch in Spiti and Ladak searching after food at the camping-grounds, and he also records the finding of a nest made of coarse grass and placed in a furze bush. The eggs were dirty white or greenish with some dark brown spots.