774. Fringilla montifringilla.
Fringilla montifringilla, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 318 (1766); Blyth, Cat. p. 121 ; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 491; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 412 ; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 465; id. Cat. no. 752; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 87; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 579; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 178.
Coloration. Male. After the autumn moult the forehead, crown, nape, hind neck, and back are black with broad rufous margins; rump and the upper tail-coverts white, the sides of these black, some of the longer tail-coverts mingled black and ashy ; tail black, the feathers narrowly margined with white and the outermost feather with a good deal of white on it; lesser wing-coverts and scapulars orange-rufous; median coverts chiefly white; greater coverts black, tipped with pale rufous, the innermost feather or two with the inner web white; tertiaries black, edged with rufous ; remainder of quills black edged with pale yellow, and many of the primaries with a basal white patch on the outer web and a broad white margin on the inner; sides of the head and neck black, streaked and mottled with rufous ; chin, throat, and breast orange-rufous ; abdomen white ; under tail-coverts pale buff; flanks buff spotted with black ; axillaries primrose-yellow ; under wing-coverts white suffused with yellow. In the late spring and summer the margins of the feathers of the head and back are cast or get worn away, leaving those parts deep black and the longer upper tail-coverts are also entirely black ; the margins of the wing- and tail feathers become reduced and in some cases entirely disappear.
Female. Not very different from the male in winter plumage, but the dark parts of the plumage are paler and the rufous margins broader; the lesser and greater wing-coverts and the scapulars are dark brown, fringed with rufous, and the median coverts are broadly tipped with white ; the chin, throat, and breast are much paler rufous. Many specimens have an ashen patch on the nape, and this colour suffuses the sides of the neck.
Young birds resemble the female in general appearance, but are suffused with yellow.
Bill light grey at base, dusky at tip ; iris brown ; legs and feet fleshy brown (Unwin). In summer the bill becomes black.
Length rather more then 6 ; tail 2.6; wing 3.5 ; tarsus .75 ; bill from gape .6.
Distribution. Occurs in Gilgit and N. W. Punjab at the spring and autumn migrations. This species summers and breeds in the more northerly portions of Europe and Asia and in winter migrates southwards, being found at that season in Southern Europe, Southwestern Asia from Asia Minor to Afghanistan, and in China.
Habits, &c. The Brambling is found in flocks and frequents forest country, but, like many other Finches, feeds on the ground both on seeds and insects as well as on trees.
* SERINUS PECTORALIS, Murray, Vert. Zool. Sind, p. 190 (1884), is the Crithagra chrysopyga of Swainson (Birds West Afr. i, p. 206, pl. 17) or Serinus ictericus, Bonn, et Vieill, apud Sharpe, Cat. B. AI. xii, p. 350. This species inhabits a considerable portion of Africa and is a very common cage-bird, and it was doubtless a bird escaped from confinement that came under Mr. Murray's observation. Both Mr. Murray's description and a coloured sketch of the bird sent to me by Mr. Hume agree with the African bird in every particular.
Forehead, supercilium, and cheeks bright yellow; a broad ashy band from the lores through the eye to the ear-coverts; a dark brown moustachial streak; upper plumage ashy green streaked with dark brown; lower plumage yellow, the sides of the breast ashy; wings and tail brown, margined with yellow ; rump bright yellow. Tail 1.7 ; wing 2.5.