(1206) Otocoris penicillata albigula.
The Pamirs Horned Lark.
Otocoris albigula Bonaparte, Consp. Av., i, p. 246 (1850) (Russ. Asiat. Alpes). Otocorys penicillata. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 319.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Adult male. Feathers at the base of the forehead, lores, cheeks, ear-coverts and sides of throat black continued as a broad band across the lower throat and breast; forehead, supercilium, posterior ear-coverts, chin and upper throat white ; a band across the crown and two tufts of long feathers on either side black; hind crown, nape, neck, upper back and upper tail-coverts vinous grey, the lower back and rump pale ashy-brown merely tinged with vinous; central tail-feathers dark brown with pale edges, the lateral feathers black with obsolete pale edges and the outermost with a broad white edge to the outer web ; wing-coverts like the upper back but with concealed brown centres; primaries brown, the first with a wholly white outer web, the others edged narrowly with vinous-white; secondaries brown, the outer with narrow, the inner with very broad pale edges; remainder of lower plumage white, sometimes washed with vinous on the breast and flanks.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown or red-brown; bill black above, bluish-plumbeous below and paler at the base; legs and feet black in the male, dark plumbeous-brown in the female ; soles of feet whitish.
Measurements. Wing 109 to 120 mm.; tail 78 to 83 mm.: tarsus about 23 to 24 mm.; culmen about 11 to 13 mm.
Female has no black or white on the crown, this being ashy-brown more or less streaked with black; the upper plumage has little or no tinge of vinous and the black of the face and breast seems always to be more restricted and with the white fringes more pronounced.
Male in Winter. Has the black parts above fringed with vinous and below with white whilst the vinous above is less pronounced.
The Young bird has the upper plumage fulvous-brown, each feather tipped with white and subtipped blackish; the supercilium, sides of the head, chin and throat are yellowish, the lores and ear-coverts mottled with brown ; breast brownish-white with, black spots and remaining lower parts pure white.
Distribution. Persia, Afghanistan, the Pamirs and Gilgit.
Nidification. Practically nothing on record. Five eggs given me by Herr M. Kuschel were said to have been laid in three nests very roughly made of grass and lined with hair, grass and some scraps of wool. In each case they were budt in natural hollows in the ground in among tufts of coarse stubbly grass. Of the eggs one clutch of two are yellowish-stone in ground¬colour minutely speckled all over with yellowish-brown, the others are yellowish-grey marked all over with tiny blotches of rather grey-brown. The five average 24.1 X 17.1 and vary hardly at all in size. They were taken on the 12th June and 19th July.
Habits. This is a Lark of stony plateaus and bare hill-sides like others of the genus. This species, however, seems to move with the seasons up and down the mountains, for Scully says that " it swarms" in Winter down to 5000 feet in Gilgit. also about Yarkand and Kashgar. It also must breed in the higher ranges of Gilgit, as there are numerous birds thence in the British Museum collection which are practically nestlings.