(1039) Perissospiza icterioides icterioides.
The Black-and-Yellow Grosbeak.
Coccothraustes icterioides Vigors, P.Z.S., 1830, p. 8 (Simla,, Almora). Pycnorhamphus icteroides. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 198.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Adult male. Whole head, throat, wings, tail-coverts, tail, scapulars and sides of the upper back, axillaries and thigh-coverts black; remainder of plumage bright golden yellow, tinged with orange on the nape.
Colours of soft parts. Iris reddish brown; bill waxy-yellow in winter, greenish-horny in summer; legs and feet pale flesh-colour.
Measurements. Total length about 230 mm.; wing 126 to 136mm., 122 to 128 mm.; tail 88 to 97 mm.: tarsus 28 to 29 mm.; culmen 23 to 25 mm.
Female. Upper plumage ashy-grey, the head rather darker and the ramp more fulvous ; tail black, the central feathers ashy-bronze ; winglet, greater coverts and primaries blackish; chin ashy-fulvous ; throat and breast like the back but paler; abdomen, flanks and under tail-coverts buff.
Young males are like the females but have a darker head and the lower back and rump yellow. There are no specimens in the British Museum series to show whether the nestling plumage differs from that of the female.
Distribution. Prom Afghanistan, Mussoorie and Mnrree through South Kashmir, the Simla States and Human.
Nidification. This Grosbeak breeds throughout its range between 7,500 and 10,000 feet in the months of April and May. It apparently has two broods, as Rattray took eggs as early as April 4th, whilst Jones took fresh eggs as late as the end of June. The nests are compact but rather bulky cups made of fine twigs, dried moss, lichen and plant-stems, lined with fine roots. They are built on Deodar-trees, generally on a branch close to the trunk, sometimes on a branch well away from it and, occasionally, on creepers growing over the tree. It may be placed at any height between 18 and 60 feet from the ground. The eggs are either two or three in number, the ground-colour a pale grey-green, rarely with a reddish tinge, marked sparsely with thick and fine hair-lines, a few blotches and spots of deep purple-black and a few similar underlying ones of pale neutral tint. Most of the markings are confined to the larger end, in some forming a definite zone or ring. The texture is fine and smooth and the shape a long, regular oval. Forty eggs average 28*3 x 19-9 mm.: maxima 32-0 x and 29-3 x 20*7 mm.; minima 26*1 X 20'2 ami 26-9 x 190 mm.
Habits. The Black-and-Yellow G-rosbeak seems to be resident wherever found, though it may move vertically a couple of thousand feet with the seasons, having been seen at 4,000 ieet in Winter. It is a sociable bird, assembling in small flocks and feeding on Pine-shoots and -seeds and other seeds and berries. They teed much on the ground. It is said to be a rather restless,noi^y bird, with a slow, dipping flight. Magrath says that its call-note sounds like 44 trekatree-trekup-trekup " and that the male has a sweet song.