(1070) Carpodacus rubicilla rubicilloides.
The Kansu Great Rose-Finch.
Carpodacus rubicilloides Pzew., Mongol. Stran. Tangut., ii, p. 90, pi. xii (1876) (Kansu).
Vernacular names. Awal-luk-si (Tibet).
Description. - Adult male. Crown, nape, sides of the head, ear-coverts, chin and throat brilliant crimson, each feather with a narrow, pointed white stripe ; lores and under the "eye immaculate crimson; hind neck rosy-ashy, streaked with dark brown ; back, scapulars and wing-coverts dark brown edged with rosy-ashy ; rump ashy-crimson; longer tail-coverts and tail-feathers dark brown, edged with pale buff; wing-quills dark brown, edged with rosy-buff; lower parts crimson, paling posteriorly, each feather with a pale centre and those of the breast with conspicuous white striae ; vent and under tail-coverts rosy-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill horny-brown, the culmen darker, the base and gonys yellowish; legs and feet horny to dark brown, the claws still darker.
Measurements. Total length about 200 mm.; wing 106 to 112 mm.; tail 83 to 90 mm.; tarsus 21 to 22 mm.; culmen about 14 to 15 mm.
Female. Upper parts ashy-brown, streaked with dark brown wing-coverts and quills blackish brown, edged with pale ashy ; tail brown, narrowly edged with white on the outermost feather; lower plumage pale ashy, tinged with brown and heavily streaked with blackish, the streaks almost disappearing on the posterior abdomen, vent and thighs.
Distribution. Kashgar, Ladakh and North-East Kashmir, Tibet, Sikkim, Kansu and Yunnan.
Typical rubicilla differs from the present race in being much darker; the male in full plumage is dark crimson-brown above and much more deeply crimson below. The female is hardly distinguishable.
Nidification, This fine Rose-Finch breeds freely in Tibet, whence 1 have had eggs and nest sent me and Osmaston obtained a fine series in Ladakh at about 14,000 feet. In Tibet it certainly breeds up to 17,000 feet and down to a little over 12,000 feet. The earliest date I have recorded is the 12th June, four fresh eggs ; and the latest 9th September, five fresh eggs. The nest is made principally of twigs more or less mixed with roots and grass and with a dense lining of hair or wool. It is placed generally low down in rose-bushes or in Tibetan Furze-bushes but sometimes six to ten feet up in Pollard Willows. The site chosen is seldom in jungle, the Lush selected most often being one in the open, alongside a patch of cultivation or on the banks of a stream or irrigation ditch. The eggs number three to five and are deep hedge-sparrow's egg blue, sparsely spotted or speckled with black or purple-brown, occasionally having also a few fine twisted hair-lines. In shape they are broad ovals and the surface has a fair gloss. Sixty eggs average 24.0 x 16.8 mm. : maxima 28.3 X 18.3 and 24.9 x 18.7 mm.; minima 21.6 x 17.0 and 27.0 x 16.0 mm.
Habits. The Kansu Great Rose-Finch seems to be a bird of more open country than most of the genus, resorting very little to Pine-forest or even to thorn and scrub-jungle. It is a bird of the highest elevations, i e. in Summer from 12,000 feet, more often 14,000 feet, up to the snow-line, and in Winter down to about 8,000 feet. It is said to have sweet notes during the breeding-seas on, hardly amounting to a song. Dresser's remarks on C. severtzovi and its breeding in Ladakh refer to this species and probably a number of Whistler's notes in the Bombay Natural History Journal (xxx, p. 186) also refer to this bird.