(1717) Gypaetus barbatus altaicus.
THE ALTAI BEARDED Vulture.
Gypaetus altaicus Sharpe. Oat. B.M., i, p. 229, ex Gebler, Bull. Soc. Acad. St. Peters., vi, p. 292 (1840) (Altai). Gypaetus barbatus. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 328 (part,).
Description. A much larger and much paler bird than the preceding race, the abdomen and vent practically white,- the silvery-brown of the upper parts lighter also.
Colours of soft parts as in other races. Measurements. Wing 830 to 890 mm.
Distribution. Northern Central Asia, Turkestan, Tianschan to Altai and South Siberia, South to Tibet. A pair of birds breeding in the N. Cachar Hills, the wings of one of which measured about 890 mm. (35*5"), must, I think, be attributed to this race; a very pale bird from Nepal, wing 885 mm., must also, I think, be referred to it.
Nidification. Probably not differing in any way from that of the preceding bird except that it breeds at much higher elevations. An egg sent me from Tibet was taken from an eyrie at 14,000 feet and the members of the Everest Expedition saw it soaring at a height certainly of 24,000 feet. Hume records it as resident on the Lingzi Plateau, Yarkand, at over 17,000 feet and Osmaston between 14,000 and 16,000 feet in Ladak. The egg referred to above is a rather poorly-coloured specimen, measuring 85 x 65 mm.
Habits. This race is probably merely a Northern and high altitude race of the Himalayan bird, following the usual law of being paler and larger than its more tropical cousin. Where the two grade one into the other we as yet have no evidence.