1051. Hsematospiza sipahi

(1051) Haematospiza sipahi Hodgs.
THE SCARLET FINCH.
Haematospiza sipahi. Fauna B, I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 117.
This fine Finch occurs from Nepal to Eastern Assam both North and South of the Brahmapootra.
Very little is yet known about this Finch, which is very common in the Himalayas in the cold weather down to 2,200 feet (Sikkim, Stevens), but has never been tracked to its normal breeding ground.
In the Khasia Hills it is common in Winter down to 3,500 feet but apparently very few birds remain to breed, and I have failed to find it nesting. Every year a few nestlings are obtained by the Khasias, with whom it is a favourite cage-bird, and occasionally nests have been brought in to me with a single egg said to have been of this Finch, once also with a male bird and once with a female.
The nests were all taken in the densest Pine-forests between 5,500 and 6,200 feet and were all placed in stout forks, horizontal or vertical, of Pine-trees between 25 and 40 feet from the ground. The neats were bulky cups, made outwardly of rather stiff little twigs and a few coarse roots ; inside this was a layer of coarse roots, probably moss-roots. In one nest them was some goat’s hair in the lining and in a second a few scraps of wool, while in a third nest there was a little dried moss and a few tufts of wool on the outside of the walls.
Outwardly the nests measured about 6 inches across, or rather more, by rather under 3 inches deep, the cavities being about 4 by 1.3/4 inches.
The four eggs in my collection, taken at odd times in many years, as well as the nests in which they were laid, are similar and, though I have never seen the nests in situ with the birds, these would appear to have been correctly and honestly identified.
The eggs have a blue ground and they are all marked with small blotches of rather rich red-brown, numerous and coalescing to form a cap in one egg and rings in the others at the larger end. Underlying these are a few fine specks and small smudges of lilac. In one egg the specks become tiny lines and in this egg there is also one long twisted line of dark brown at the larger end.
The eggs vary in size from 22.1 x 17.3 and 23.2 x 17.0 to 25.4 x 18.0 mm.
They were taken between the 7th May and the 24th June.
The reason for my failing to get any Khasia to show me a nest in situ was, I think, the enormous value they place on the young birds as pets and their fear that I should want too many of them. On one occasion a Khasia collector did actually shoot a male and hring it in with the nest and afterwards showed me the place where he had got it. The hen, which was brought in to me, was alive in a noose and was taken away after I had satisfied myself as to what it was.

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: 
1051. Hsematospiza sipahi
Spp Author: 
Hodgs.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1051
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
41
Common name: 
Scarlet Finch
M_ID: 
30679
M_CN: 
Scarlet Finch
M_SN: 
Carpodacus sipahi
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14146

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