44. Lophophanes melanolophus.
The Crested Black Tit.
Parus melanolophus, Vigors, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 23 ; Gould, Cent. pi. 30, fig. 2; Blyth, Cat. p. 104; Horsf. & M. Cat. p. 372; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 72; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 568; Gadow, Cat. B. M. viii, p. 28. Lophophanes melanolophus ( Vig.), Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 273 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 403; Brooks, S. F. iii, p. 253; Hume, Cat. no. 638; Wardlaw Ramsay, Ibis, 1880, p. 61; Oates in Hume's N.& E. 2nd ed. i, p. 40.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, crest, hind neck, lores, chin, throat, and breast deep black ; a large patch on the nape white; the ear-coverts, extending down the sides of the neck, the cheeks, and under the eye white ; upper plumage iron-grey, the exposed parts of the wings and tail paler ; the middle and lower series of the wing-coverts, the tertiaries, and some of the secondaries tipped with white, the tips of the coverts more or less tinged with rufous ; lower plumage from the breast downwards iron-grey, the under wing-coverts, axillaries, and a portion of the sides of the body chestnut; under tail-coverts chiefly chestnut.
The young have the head brown ; the upper plumage greyish brown; the wing-spots very rufous; the chin, throat, and breast brown ; the remainder of the lower plumage fulvous-brown with the axillaries pale chestnut.
Bill black; legs, feet, and claws dark bluish grey; iris brown (Davison).
Length about 4.3 ; tail 1.7 ; wing 2.5 ; tarsus .6; bill from gape .4.
Distribution. The Himalayas' from Kumaon to Murree and Gilgit at elevations of from 6000 to 12,000 feet, extending into Afghanistan.
Habits, &c. Breeds at 6000 to 8000 feet from March to June, constructing a nest of fur and wool, resting on a foundation of moss, in a hole in a tree, wall, or rock. The eggs, six to eight in number, are pinkish white, blotched and spotted with bright brownish red ; they measure about .61 by .47.