790. Emberiza fucata.
The Grey-headed Bunting.
Emberiza fucata, Pall. Reis. Buss. Reichs, iii, p. 698 (1776) ; Jerd. B. l. ii, p. 375; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 603; Hume, Cat, no. 719; Oates, B. B. i, p. 351 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 493; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 269; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 279; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 166. Euspiza fucata (Pall.), Blyth, Cat. p. 129; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 488. Citrinella fucata (Pall.), Hume, N. & E. p. 465. Emberiza arcuata, Sharpie, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 494 (1888).
Coloration. Male. After the moult the forehead, crown, nape, and sides of the neck are ashy streaked with black; back and scapulars reddish brown, with broad black streaks; rump reddish brown, with obsolete brown streaks; upper tail-coverts fawn-brown, streaked with brown; lesser and median wing-coverts chestnut with concealed dark bases; greater coverts and tertiaries black, with broad rufous edges; quills dark brown edged with rufous; lores and round the eye fulvous mottled with ashy; ear-coverts chestnut; cheeks fulvous, continued as a baud under the ear-coverts ; a moustachial band black, gradually widening and reaching to the lower throat, where it meets the other moustachial streak, thus forming a gorget which on the fore neck is more or less interrupted by fulvous streaks ; chin and throat fulvous ; a band of chestnut across the upper breast; remaining lower plumage pale fulvous, the sides of the breast and of the body streaked with dark brown; tail dark brown edged with rufous, the penultimate feather with a triangular patch of white at the tip, the outer feather with the outer web almost entirely white and half of the inner, next the shaft, also white.
In spring the chin, throat, and streaks on the gorget become pure white, the rufous pectoral band becomes broader and brighter by the wearing away of the tips of the feathers which partially overlie the band, and the sides of the body become uniform bright chestnut; the ashy parts of the head become purer ashy, and the upper plumage in general becomes a richer rufous. The difference between breeding and non-breeding plumage in this species is not very marked or noteworthy.
Female. Resembles at all seasons the male after the moult; is perhaps a trifle duller in colour.
The young bird resembles the female.
Bill dark fleshy brown, the lower mandible paler; iris brown ; feet and claws pinkish.
Length about 6; tail 2.7; wing 2.8; tarsus .8; bill from gape .6.
The Himalayan Buntings of this type differ from the true E. fucata of Siberia, and from those which visit the Eastern portion of the Empire in having the scapulars and lesser wing-coverts and the whole of the sides of the body uniform chestnut. Should this form be distinct, it will bear Sharpe's name E. arcuata.
Distribution. A resident species in the whole of the Himalayas from Kashmir to Assam, and a fairly common winter visitor to all parts of the Eastern portion of the Empire from Assam down to about the latitude of Moulmein.
According to Jerdon, this species is spread sparingly through Northern and Central India and. it has been found near Calcutta, Jalna in the Deccan, Mhow, Saugor, and Nagpur. Barnes records it from Neemuch. There is, however, no specimen of this Bunting from any part of the plains of India proper either in the Hume or Tweeddale collections, nor have I ever seen a specimen from those parts.
This species, if the same as E. fucata, ranges over the greater part of Northern and Eastern Asia.
Habits, &c. Breeds from G000 to 8000 feet in May, June, and July, constructing a saucer-shaped nest of dry grass on the ground under shelter of a bush or stone. The eggs, four in number, are pale greenish grey speckled all over with dull reddish or purplish brown, and measure about .83 by .6.