The intrinsic muscles of the syrinx fixed to the ends of the bronchial semi-rings; the edges of both mandibles smooth ; the hinder part of the tarsus longitudinally bilaminated, the laminae entire and smooth; wing with ten primaries, the first, in our Indians genera, always small; nostrils pierced within, or close to, the line of forehead ; the nostril nearer the culmen than the commissure; bill conical and entire, the notch being absent or obsolete.
Considerable discussion has arisen in recent years as to the constitution of the families Ploceidae and Fringillidae and as to the position in them which certain genera, notably Passer, should be given. This genus is undoubtedly in many ways close to Ploceus both in general characteristics, colour, pattern of colour and in Habits. On the other hand it has no visible signs of a tenth primary, a characteristic which satisfactorily separates it from all our Indian Ploceidae. Again, Sushkin (Bull. B. O. C, xlv, p. 36) has shown that in certain respects Montifringilla belongs to the Passerine group, whilst Fringilauda is a truly Fringilline form. Chapin (Bull. Am. Mas. Nat. Hist, xxxvii, pp. 243-280, 1917) uses as a primary characteristic the mouth-markings of the young but the conclusions he draws from this, among other character¬istics, do not affect the position of any of the genera of our Indian Ploceidae. More research work on a wider scale may show that the Ploceidae and Fringillidae should be combined in one family, divided into groups or subfamilies Ploceinae, Estrildinae (Viduinae, Oates), Passerines and Fringillinae. At present it seems to me that it is unsafe to base alterations in classification on characters which may prove to be unsatisfactory when more material has been examined. I therefore retain the two families Ploceidae and Fringillidae as defined by Oates.
Key to Subfamilies.
A. First primary long, much exceeding the greater wing-coverts. A partial Spring moult…….. Ploceinae, p. 66.
B. First primary minute, never exceeding the greater wing-coverts. No Spring moult……….Estrildinae, p. 77.