1116. Fringilauda nemoricola altaica

(1116) Fringilauda nemoricola altaica (Eversm.).
Fringillauda nemoricola altaica, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 102.
This Mountain-Finch extends in the breeding season from Ladak, Kashmir and Gilgit to Tianschan, Samarkand, Altai and Turkestan.
There are a fair number of records of the breeding of this Finch under the name of sordida.
It breeds above the forest level at elevations of 12,000 to 15,000 feet on rocky bare mountain slopes or on grass-covered pasture lands. The nest is placed in a hole of some description, either in a burrow of a rat or mouse-hare, in a cleft in, or hole under, a rock or boulder, or in among a heap of fallen stones and boulders. In 1902 Buchanan found this Finch to be “one of the commonest birds in the higher valleys near Sonamarg during the Summer. They did not breed until the middle of July, and I fortunately secured several nests at an elevation of 12,000 to 13,000 feet. The nest is made of grass, and lined with horse-hair and a few feathers ; it is placed in a hole under a rock, and the tunnel leading to the nest is sometimes as much as two feet long ; in two instances the holes were like those made by a rat in open flat ground.”
Ward sends me the following note with four sets of eggs :— “Breeds freely in Kashmir between 10,000 and 14,000 ft., nearly always, however, over 12,000 ft, ; most nests are hidden in holes in old stone walls, or in heaps of stones, or under rocks and boulders, but now and then one finds nests in rat-holes or in other burrows in the ground. The nest is just grass and feathers mixed, lined with the latter, very roughly put together and of no particular shape. The eggs number three or four, but once I found two hard set.”
Osmaston (B. B.) says of a nest he found in the Suru Valley’ (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxxi, p. 193, 1926):—“The nest was in a hole under a big rock on the barren hill-side, and it would not have been discovered had it not been betrayed by the sudden exit of the mother bird. The nest was composed of dry grass and weeds lined with hair and contained four pure white eggs."
This nest was taken on 24th July and the breeding season seems to extend from early July to the middle of August.
The eggs three or four in number, generally the latter, are the usual white, broad ovals, well pointed at the smaller end. The texture is fine and stout, very like that of the genus Ploceus but not quite so thick and smoother.
Twenty-five eggs average 20.5 x 15.1 mm. : maxima 22.0 x 15.6 and 21.0 x 15.7 mm. ; minima 19.0 x 15.0 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1116. Fringilauda nemoricola altaica
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Altai Mountain Itinch
Leucosticte nemoricola altaica
Vol. 3

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