(1087) Acanthis flavirostris rufostrigata.
The Tibetan Twite.
Linota rufostrigata Walton, Bull. B. O. C., xv, p. 93 (1905) (Gyantse, Tibet).
Vernacular names. Dong-deng-ma (Tibet); Pegam-bejee (Gyantse).
Description. Each sex similar to the corresponding sex of Stoliczka's Twite but with the underparts distinctly rufescent and not white. The upper parts are generally paler and the amount of rosy tinge on the rump is pale and restricted.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 78 to 80 mm.
Distribution. Ladakh and Tibet.
Nidification. This Twite breeds in vast numbers from Ladakh to Sikkim in the months of June, July and August at elevations between 12,000 and 15,000 feet. In the Gyantse Plains the Twite literally swarms and nests may be found in almost any patch of Tibetan furze, brambles or even clumps of willows. Most nests are built low down, often within a few inches of the ground, whilst others may be taken in willows as high up as ten or fifteen feet. The nest is a small compact cup made of grass, roots and weed-stems, often mixed with scraps of wool or hair and always neatly lined with wool, hair or vegetable down, sometimes with these mixed up and with the addition of one or two soft feathers.
Normally the eggs number four or five but occasionally six or seven are laid. The ground-colour is a very pale skim-milk blue, sometimes practically white and sometimes with a pinkish tinge. The primary markings consist of specks, spots and small irregular blotches of pinkish brown, the secondary ones being of lavender and pale pinky-grey. Both are sparse everywhere but less so at the larger end, where in some eggs they form a ring or cap. Two hundred eggs average 18.1 X 13.3 mm.: maxima 20.2 x 12.3 and 20.1 x 14.4: mm.; minima 17.0 X 13.0 and 18.2 x 12.2 mm.
Habits. This Twite does not appear to be migratory, merely moving a little vertically with the seasons. In Summer it is found up to the snow-line and down to about 12,000 feet, whilst in Winter it comes down only some 2,000 feet lower. The lowest record is between 9,000 and 10,000 feet in the Chambi Valley in Sikkim, where my collectors obtained it in December. It is a frequenter of open places, both barren and stony and such as are covered either with cultivation or with pasture and wild flowers; forests and the larger spinneys it never haunts but it may sometimes be found in scrub-jungle, juniper-bushes and small clumps of willows by water. The Tibetan furze is a favourite resort. In voice, food, flight, etc. it is very similar to the other races.