(1089) Hypacanthis spinoides spinoides.
The Himalayan- GREENFINCH.
Carduelis spinoides Vigors, P. Z. S., 1831, p. 44 (Simla). Hypacanthis spinoides. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 231.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Male. Lores, round the eye, a short broad supercilium and forehead bright yellow, the last often more or less or even wholly black; crown, ear-coverts and nape dark brown; sides of neck yellow, meeting in an indistinct collar below the nape ; back, scapulars and smallest wing-coverts greenish-brown,, sometimes washed with yellow; rump yellow : upper tail-coverts dark brown; central tail-feathers brown with concealed yellow bases, the yellow increasing until it covers nearly the whole of the outermost feathers ; lesser and median wing-coverts yellow; greater coverts black, tipped with yellow; primaries dark brown with a broad yellow basal patch; secondaries brown, the inner with broad edges and tips of white ; whole lower parts bright yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris bright hazel to dark brown; bill fleshy or yellowish-horny, darker on the culmen and tip ; legs and feet fleshy.
Measurements. Total length about 130 mm.; wing 76 to 80 mm.; tail 45 to 48 mm.; tarsus about 14 mm.; culmen about 9 to 10 mm.
Female, Like the male but duller and paler, more washed with green above and without the yellow forehead.
Young. Above fulvous-brown, streaked with dark brown and with the yellow collar just showing; below oily pale yellow, streaked with brown ; wings and tail like the adult but with less yellow.
Distribution. Himalayas from the Baluchistan-Afghanistan Frontier, Gilgit through Kashmir, Kuman, Garhwal, Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan and Manipur.
Nidification. Breeds in the Himalayas between 6,000 and 11,000 feet from the end of June to early September, principally in July and August. The nest is a neat, well-built cup of fine grasses, roots, weed-stems and fibre, sometimes mixed externally with a little moss and well lined with wool, hair and feathers. It may be placed at any height between six and sixty-eight feet from the ground and the tree most often selected is a Deodar growing in fairly thick forest. The position is always the upper surface of a horizontal bough, generally concealed and well protected from rain by overhanging foliage. They seem to breed in company, for Dodsworth records finding five and four nests respectively on two occasions within a radius of fifteen yards. The eggs number four or five and in ground-colour are a clear greenish-white or pale sea-green, sometimes more bluish. The markings consist of tiny blackish specks and small dots confined to the larger end, where they sometimes form an indefinite ring. Eighty eggs average 18.7 x 13.7 mm. : maxima 19.9 x 15.0 mm.; minima 17.2 x 13.9 and 17.3 x 13.1 mm.
Habits. Dodsworth has given an excellent and exhaustive account of this bird in the Bombay Natural History Journal (xxi, p. 1075, 1912). According to him they are gregarious, wandering about the well-wooded hillsides, feeding on various seeds and berries, especially those of the Sunflower when ripe. The note uttered by the cock is a loud 44 beez," but both sexes keep up a constant twittering, uttered even when they move from tree to-tree with their swift but undulating flight.