(1115) Fringillauda nemoricola nemoricola.
Fringillauda nemoricola Hodgs., As. Res., xix, p. 158 (1836) (Nepal): Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 247.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description- Whole upper plumage and lower wing-coverts dark brown, the feathers edged with rufous; rump dark ashy-grey with obsolete dark margins; upper tail-coverts brown with broad white tips ; tail dark brown with narrow rufescent margins; median wing-coverts dark ashy-grey with white tips: greater coverts brown with white tips 5 quills dark brown, the primaries narrowly, the inner secondaries broadly, edged with rufous ; a very indistinct supercilium dull white and brown; cheeks and ear-coverts rufous-brown with pale shafts; lower plumage dull sordid brown, the sides of the breast and flanks streaked with dark brown, the centre of the abdomen paler and the vent and under tail-coverts broadly edged with white ; under wing-coverts greyish white; axillaries bright yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown or reddish-brown; bill fleshy-brown, pale horny-brown, yellowish-brown; legs and feet fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 180 mm.; wing 95 to 101 mm.; tail 60 to 68 mm.; tarsus about 20 mm.; culmen about 10 to 12 mm.
Young birds have the whole crown rufous, are more rufous on the upper plumage and the underparts are paler and more rut'ous.
Distribution. Nepal, Sikkim. Garhwal birds are intermediate but are nearest to this form. To the East it extends through South and Central Tibet to Kansu and Mupin.
Nidification. Hodgson's Mountain-Finch breeds during July,, making a nest of grass and roots, lined with a mixture of fur and feathers, which it places in a hole under a rock or stone, in among the stones of a heap or a wall or, less commonly, in a burrow made by some small animal. The eggs number four or five and are like those of the genus Montifringilla, pure white and in shape broad, pointed ovals. Eighteen eggs average 20.6 x 15.2 mm.: maxima 22.0 x 16.0 and 20.3 x 16.1 mm.; minima 19.5 x 15.1 and 20.1 x 14.8 mm.
In Garhwal Whymper took their nests at 14,000 feet upwards and Osmaston at 13,500 feet.
Habits. Hodgson's Mountain-Finch has much the same habits as the Snow-Finches but seems to prefer rocky, bare hillsides to plains at high elevations. In Summer it is found between 10,000 and 17,000 feet and descends m Winter to some 6,000 feet,, once (Stevens) having been recorded as low as 5,200 feet. In January Stevens found that the large flocks in which these birds assemble were, at least sometimes, composed of one sex only. They feed almost entirely on the ground but rest on the tops of high trees and also on telegraph wires.