(1111) Montifringilla nivalis adamsi.
The Tibet Snow-Finch,
Montifringilla adamsi Adams, P. Z. S., 1858, p. 482 (Ladakh); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 246.
Vernacular names. Richi-kya-shok (Tibet).
Description. Above paler and duller than Palias's Snow-Finch ; below darker and more fulvous ; the black throat is nearly always concealed by the pale fringes ; the lesser and median coverts are brown and the greater are brown tipped with white; the outer secondaries have brown on the outer webs and broad brown bases ; the tail-feathers have broader brown tips.
Colours of soft parts as in Pallas's Snow-Finch.
Measurements. Wing 102 to 113 mm.; tail 61 to 70 mm.; tarsus about 22 mm.; culmen 12 to 14 mm.
Distribution- Kashmir from Gilgit to Human, Garhwal, Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet.
Nidification. Breeds throughout its range in suitable localities between 12,000 and 15,000 feet. The nest is a very roughly made saucer of fine grass stems, coarser grass and, sometimes, a few roots, lined either with fur or feathers, or the two mixed together. Adams found it breeding in the dykes or mani walls, raised in memory of some person of note, but a more usual place is a chamber enlarged in a burrow of a mouse-hare (Lagomys) or some other burrowing animal. Occasionally the nest may be built inside a heap of stones or a hole in a stone wall. The eggs number three or four and are pure white with a stout, compact but glossless shell. In shape they are most often broad ovals, the smaller end rather pointed. Twenty eggs average 23.0 x 16.5 mm.: maxima 25.5 X 16.9 and 24.8 x 17.0 mm.; minima 21.6 x 16.0 mm.
The breeding-season lasts during May, June and July.
Habits. Like the other Snow-Finches the Tibetan race is found on the barest, most rocky plateaus and hills It keeps almost entirely to the ground, feeding on seeds and berries and is very active on its feet and very Lark-like in its action. Its call is also said to be like that of a Lark but it has no song. Its flight is strong and straight. Probably this is a strictly resident bird which does not descend below 10,000 feet except under very severe pressure. Stevens noticed it in Sikkim at 11,800 feet on the 18th February when the snow was very deep. In Kashmir it has been observed at about 8,000 feet. All the Snow-Finches are gregarious in winter, sometimes collecting in small flocks of half-a-dozen to a dozen, at other times in companies numbering several hundred birds.