(1121) Emberiza fucata arcuata.
The Indian Grey-headed Bunting.
Emberiza arcuata Sharpe, Cat. B. M,, xii, p. 494 (1888) (Himalayas, Simla). Emberiza fucata. Blanf, & Oates, ii, p. 252 (part).
Vernacular names. Putthur-chirta (Hind.).
Description. Differs from the preceding bird in having the head a purer grey; the upper parts much richer and more chestnut, less fulvous in tone and in having, the breast and flanks rich chestnut-rufous ; the black markings on the sides of the throat and across the breast form a more or less complete gorget and the chestnut on the lower breast covers all but the extreme centre.
Colours of soft parts as in E. f. fucata.
Measurements. Wing 69 to 71 mm.; tail 65 to 67 mm.; culmen 10 to 11 mm.
The Nestling is like the female but very dull above, with a very black head and no chestnut on the lower plumage ; the neck, breast and flanks are fulvous, heavily streaked with dull black.
Distribution. Kashmir, Kuman to Simla and Garhwai. Breeding birds in Nepal and the Sikkim ranges of hills are undoubtedly of this race but winter visitors of the other rac are met with in these places. It again occurs in Yunnan and has also been obtained in the Chin Hills on Mt. Victoria. Birds from these two districts are not so richly chestnut below and should, perhaps, be separated.
Nidification. Two nests taken by Rattray in Parachinar and at Murree on the 29th July and 30th May respectively are described as grass cups, mixed with a few roots and lined with finer grasses, well hidden under tufts of grass in grass-land. The eggs, four and three, are not what I should have expected. In shape they are long pointed ovals, the ground-colour is white and they are profusely spotted all over with dark brown and neutral tint secondary markings. All the eggs are rather more profusely spotted at the larger end. They measure between 22.9 x 16.0 and 21.3 x 15.7 mm.
Hume records it as breeding between 6,000 and 8,000 feet in the valleys of the Sutlej and Beas West to Hazara, and Buck took its nest on the 25th June above Kotegarh. Nest and eggs were like those found by Rattray.
Habits. This is a Bunting of open grass-covered hills or hills with low scrub-jungle not mixed with trees, though often not far from tree-forest. Jerdon records this Bunting from North and Central India as far South as the Deccan, Mhow, Saugor and Nagpur, whilst Barnes obtained it in Nimach. These records have not been again confirmed, though, from analogy, we should expect to find it migratory like the Chinese forms. It undoubtedly occurs and breeds in Sikkim, as I have received skins thence for identification but it must be very local, as Stevens never met with it.