1087. Acanthis fiavirostris rufostrigata

(1087) Acanthis flavirostris ruiostrigata (Walton).
Aconites flavirostris rufostrigata, Fauna B, I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 157.
This Twite is extraordinarily common in Southern Tibet, extending rarely into Sikkim, where it was first obtained breeding by St. J. Hickley and later by Meinertzhagen. It nests at all heights between 12,000 and 16,000 feet, and possibly even higher.
Steen was apparently the first person to obtain the nests and eggs of this bird, sending some of these to Dresser and many to me. Since Steen’s time the eggs have been taken yearly by his successors as Trade Agents in Gyantse. A summary of the voluminous notes sent me by various correspondents show that these Twites breed from the middle of May to early August, my earliest and latest eggs being, respectively, the 16th May and 14th August. Possibly some birds have two broods. Most nests are placed in low bushes between a few inches and three feet from the ground, but Kennedy took them in Willows and Birches as high as four and five feet, whilst on the other hand many nests are placed actually on the ground, hidden away among the grass and weeds or tucked into a hollow under some protecting thorn-bush, Juniper or dwarf Birch. Ludlow says that they “breed everywhere, constructing their nest in a low bush, on the ground among sedges or in a hollow in a bank.” The nest is a typical Linnet’s nest. Osmaston describes it as a “compact cup-shaped affair of dried grass, lined with wool and hair,” Those sent me—and they have been many—have in many cases had the outside much mixed with small twigs, often thorny ones, while in others there has been a mixture of grass, long silvery Birch-leaves, and small roots. The lining has always been of wool, fur or hair of some kind, often two or more mixed, and has invariably been thick and well matted. The outer cup has generally been too much pulled about in transport to measure, hut the inner cup has averaged some 2.1/2 inches in diameter by rather less than half that in depth.
Like the nests, the eggs also are typical Linnet’s eggs. The ground-colour varies but little, ranging from almost skim-milk blue to a distinct but still very pale blue. In a few eggs there is no blue tint and the ground is a very faint lilac or creamy white. In most eggs the markings consist of freckles, specks and tiny spots of pale reddish, fairly numerous at the larger end hut sparse or absent elsewhere. In some eggs the spots are darker, larger and still more scanty and, occasionally, one sees eggs with deep red or brown spots which seem to have run and become surrounded with a paler suffusion of the same colour. A good many eggs have a few streaks and twisted lines on them, while in one clutch in my series all the markings are of this character As a whole they are feebly-marked eggs and look rather washed out. I have seen onlyone egg quite immaculate. The texture is smooth, fairly fine and very fragile, the shape varying greatly. The number of eggs in a clutch is usually four or five, sometimes three or six, and I have one seven.
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.

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: 
1087. Acanthis fiavirostris rufostrigata
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Tibetan Twite
Linaria flavirostris rufostrigata
Vol. 3

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