750. Loxia himalayana.
The Himalayan Crossbill.
Loxia himalayana, Hodgs., Gray, Zool. Misc. p. 85 (1844); Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 453; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 393; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 60 ; Hume, Cat, no. 734. Loxia himalayensis, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. xiii, p. 952 (1844) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 123. Loxia curvirostra, Linn., Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 435 (part.).
Coloration. Male. Forehead, crown, nape, and hind neck red, the rump brighter red ; back and scapulars brown, the feathers broadly fringed with red; wing-coverts brown, margined with rufous-brown ; primary-coverts, winglet, and quills blackish with very narrow rufous margins; upper tail-coverts and tail dark brown margined with rufous ; sides of the head dark brown, more or less mixed with red ; lower plumage red ; under tail-coverts brown, broadly edged with whitish; under wing-coverts and axillaries ashy brown washed with rufous.
Female. Upper plumage brown, each feather edged with olive-yellow; the rump purer yellow ; wings and tail dark brown, margined narrowly with olive-yellow; chin, throat, and sides of the head and neck ashy, more or less mottled and washed with dull yellow ; abdomen ashy ; remainder of lower plumage dull yellow.
Young birds are ashy brown tinged with yellow and densely streaked all over with dark brown.
Bill and feet brown; iris dark hazel.
Length about 5.5; tail 2.2; wing 3.4; tarsus .65; bill from gape .75.
The Crossbills of the Himalayas form a very small race which I think it is advisable to keep distinct. There is a very marked difference in size between the Himalayan birds and L. curvirostra, from Northern Europe, on the one hand, and L. japonica, from Japan, on the other; and the only Crossbills which approach the Indian birds in size are some from America. Sharpe's view that all these Crossbills form but one species is no doubt correct; at the same time the Himalayan Crossbills are in my opinion quite distinguishable from all others in size, and it is consequently more convenient to retain them as distinct.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Chini and Lahul to Sikhim, extending into Tibet and Western China.
Habits &c. Inhabits the pine-forests and is highly gregarious.