754. Propasser thura.
The White-browed Rose-Finch.
Carpodacus thura, Bonap. & Schleg. Mon. LOX. p. 21, pl. 23 (1850); Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 425. Propasser thura (Bonap. & Schleg.) Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 459; Moore, P. Z. S. 1855, p. 215, pl. 113; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 400; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 65; Hume, Cat. no. 740; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 152. Propasser frontalis, Blyth, Ibis, 1862, p. 390; id. J. A. S. B. xxxii, p. 458 ; Jerd. B. I. ii, pp. 403, 874 ; Hume, Cat. no 744; G. F. L. Marshall, Ibis, 1881, p. 84; Hume, S. F. ix, p. 349, note. Carpodacus dubius, Prjev. in Rowley's Orn. Misc. ii, p. 301, pl. liv, v (1877). Propasser blythi, Biddulph, Ibis, 1882, p. 283, pl. ix.
Coloration. Male. Lores and front part of face crimson; forehead, supercilium, cheeks, ear-coverts, chin, and throat pale shining pink, with white shaft-streaks ; the end of the supercilium white; a broad band behind the eye nearly black j sides of neck plain brown; crown, nape, back, and scapulars brown, broadly streaked with black ; rump rosy pink; upper tail-coverts black, margined with rosy pink; lesser wing-coverts black, edged with rosy; median coverts black, broadly tipped with pink; greater coverts black, narrowly margined with dull pink, and tipped on the outer web with pale buff ; quills, primary-coverts, and tail blackish, margined with dull rosy, the tertiaries with pale buff; lower plumage from the throat downwards uniform rosy pink; under tail-coverts black, edged with rosy ; axillaries and under wing-coverts whitish.
Female. Upper plumage dark brown, streaked with black; the feathers of the rump and upper tail-coverts edged with golden yellow; a broad supercilium and the feathers round the upper mandible buff, more or less streaked and mottled with black; a broad band behind the eye black; cheeks and ear-coverts pale rufous, streaked with black ; chin, throat, breast, and sides of the body rufous, streaked with black; abdomen buffy white ; under tail-coverts black, margined with pale buffy white; under wing-coverts and axillaries whitish.
Length about 6.5 ; tail 3.1 ; wing 3.4; tarsus .9 ; bill from gape .6.
Distribution. Sikhim ; Nepal; Gilgit; extending to Tibet, Alachan, and Kansu. This species has been recorded at 12,000 feet and upwards both by Blanford and Mandelli.
Habits, &c. This bird was observed by Blanford on rhododendron bushes, and sometimes on grassy hill-sides. Beavan observed it in flocks. Mandelli obtained the nest at Dolaka in Nepal in August. It was built in a thorny bush, was cup-shaped, and composed of fine grass coated exteriorly with brown moss, and was lined with white fur. The eggs, three in number, are dull greenish blue, sparingly marked with brownish grey, and measure about .87 by .65.
I have not been able to examine a specimen of P. blythi from Gilgit, but, judging from the description, this race of P. thura is identical with P. dubius, which is characterized by a pale brown upper plumage, and differs from P. thura in no other respect. There are two specimens of this pale race in the British Museum, marked as having been received from the N. W. Himalayas, but the labels are unsatisfactory and the locality doubtful. P. thura may be looked upon as a dark race from Sikhim and Nepal, and P. dubius (or P. blythi) as a pale race from the drier regions of Gilgit and Tibet. I do not consider these races worthy of separation.