(1857) Columba rupestris turkestanica.
THE TURKESTAN HILL-PIGEON.
Columba rupestris turkestanica Buturlin, Orn. Monatsbr., p. 45 (1908) (Altai). Columba rupestris. Blanf. & Oates. iv, p. 30.
Vernacular names. Yaiva Kabtar (Turki); Angoa, Oron (Tibetan).
Description. Whole head, chin, throat and nape dark dove-grey ; hind-neck and shoulders darker grey, glossed with green and to a less extent with purple; upper hack, scapulars, wing-coverts and innermost secondaries pale dove-grey, much lighter than that of the head; bases of median coverts and innermost secondaries blackish, showing as indefinite bars; quills grey, tinged with brown on the outer webs and on the tips and edge of the inner webs; lower back white, rump and upper tail-coverts dark grey ; tail dark slaty-grey, broad band of white across the middle and the tip blackish ; outermost pair of feathers white at the base and on the edge of the outer web; breast vinous-grey, glossed with purple next the neck; paling to almost white on the centre of the abdomen and lower tail-coverts; edge of wing below grey, remaining under wing-coverts and axillaries white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris deep orange-yellow to golden-red; bill black or slaty-black, tinged plumbeous or flesh-colour on the cere and gape; legs and feet coral- or lobster-red, soles paler, claws pale horny.
Measurements. Total length about 330 to 350 mm.; wing 216 to 243 mm.; tail about 118 to 130 mm.; culmen 15 to 17 mm.; tarsus about 25 to 28 mm.
Distribution. Altai, Turkestan and the Himalayas from Gilgit to Tibet and Sikkim and there are specimens in the British Museum labelled Darjiling, but which probably came from further North.
Nidification. Marshall found these Pigeons breeding in the Pangi Valley, on the Chenab ; Ward records it as very common in parts of Kashmir in the higher elevations. In Tibet it is extraordinarily common, breeding in the Gyantze Plateau between 11,000 and 14,000 feet and in lesser numbers considerably higher. The nests are placed most often in Tibetan houses, both inhabited and empty, any hole in the walls or under the rafters sufficing for the purpose. At other times they breed in colonies in cliffs in places which are quite inaccessible. Two eggs of the usual type are laid during April, May, June and July and probably some birds have two broods in the year. Fifty eggs average 37.6 X 27.5 mm.: maxima 39.0 x 26.5 and 38.5 X 29.3 mm.; minima 35.9 X 28.0 and 36.8 X 26.2 mm.
Habits. Apparently very similar to those of the common Rock-Pigeons. In Tibet they are found about the villages in great numbers, so tame that they will hardly move out of one's way. Their diet, flight and voice are said to be indistinguishable from those of the Common Indian Blue Rock and like them to furnish good shooting and capital eating.