(1055) Propasser thura thura.
The Nepal White-browed rose-finch.
Carpodacus thura Bon,& Schl., Mon.Loxiens, p. 21 (1850) (Sikkim). Propasser thura. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 213.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Adult male. Lores, cheeks, a line next the base of the bill and face crimson ; forehead, broad supercilium, ear-coverts, chin and throat glistening pale pink with white shaft-streaks, the end of the supercilium white; a broad line behind the eye dark brown ; sides of neck brown; rump rosy-pink; upper tail-coverts dark brown tipped with pink; remaining upper plumage rich reddish brown with bold central streaks; tail brown, edged paler; wing-coverts dark brown, the lesser edged with rosy, the median with pale buff terminal halves to the outer webs and the bases tinged rosy in fresh plumage ; other feathers dark brown, edged pale brown; the innermost secondaries with the edges broader and paler ; in fresh plumage the edges to all the feathers have a rosy tinge; axillaries and under wing-coverts whitish brown ; whole lower plumage rosy-pink; the under tail-coverts with black centres and bases.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill pale horn-colour; tarsus fleshy-grey (C. H. T. Whitehead).
Measurements. Total length about 170 mm.; wing 80 to 85 mm.; tail 69 to 73 mm.; tarsus 24 to 25 mm.; culmen about 11 to 12 mm.
Female. Supercilium and forehead buff streaked with black; rump brown edged with golden-yellow; remaining upper parts and wings like these of the male without any rosy markings and the buff wing-markings darker ; lores darker brown ; cheeks and ear-coverts buff with black streaks ; chin dull white changing to rufous on throat, breast and flanks ; abdomen paler, almost white on the centre: the whole of the underparts from throat to under tail-coverts boldly streaked with black.
Distribution. Garhwai, Simla Hills, Nepal, Sikkim and West Tibet.
Nidification. Whymper found this fine Finch breeding in the Nila Valley, Garhwai, in August at about 15,000 feet. The nest he describes as exactly like that of Propasser pulcherrimus but larger, a shallow cup made of coarse grass and roots lined with hair and placed low down in a Juniper hush. The eggs, three or four in number, are a deeper blue than are any other Carpodacus or Propasser eggs within my own knowledge and are sparsely spotted with black or purplish-brown. In shape they are rather broad ovals and they measure about 22.3 x 16.0 mm.
Habits. This is a Finch of the highest elevations. The Mt. Everest Expedition obtained it between 16,000 and 17,500 feet, Blanford at 14,000 in the Ghola range and Whymper from 15,000 up to the highest points in Garhwal. Winter records are but few and none below 8,800 feet. It appears to be gregarious in this latter season and to feed much on the ground on seeds and berries, Stevens says " there are few more delightful sights than to watch a party of these Rose-Finches flitting about the Rhododendron trees when the vegetation and ground is covered with a mantle of snow."