712. Accentor nepalensis.
The Eastern Alpine Accentor.
Accentor nipalensis, Hodgs., Blyth, J. A. S. B. xii, p. 958 (1843); Blyth, Cat. p. 130; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 359 ; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 286 ; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 63; Hume & Hend. Lah. to Yark. p. 234; Hume, Cat. no. 652; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 74; 1882, p. 281; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 568 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 664. Accentor cacharensis, Hodgs. P. Z. S. 1845, p. 34.
The Large Himalayan Accentor, Jerd.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, nape, and hind neck grayish brown, with indistinct darker streaks; back dark brown, edged with rufous-brown; rump and upper tail-coverts pale rufous, with blackish shaft-streaks ; lesser wing-coverts greyish brown ; all the other coverts blackish, tipped with white ; scapulars and tertiaries black, edged with ferruginous; the other quills dark brown, narrowly edged and tipped with rufous ; tail dark brown, each inner web tipped with a spot, which is white on the outer feathers and gradually turns to rufous on the inner ; chin and throat white barred with black; sides of head, sides of neck, and the breast greyish brown ; the region of the eye speckled with white ; middle of the abdomen rufous-grey, barred with white and brown; under tail-coverts chestnut-brown, broadly edged with white ; sides of body and flanks dark ferruginous, some of the feathers near the thighs narrowly margined with white.
Base of upper mandible from nostril to gape, the gape, and base of lower mandible bright yellow ; rest of bill black ; iris very dark brown; legs and feet very pale reddish brown, almost fleshy (Hume).
Length about 7; tail 2.8; wing 4 ; tarsus .95 ; bill from gape .65.
This species is allied to the European A. collaris, from which it differs in being very richly coloured, and in having the second primary equal to or shorter than the sixth, whereas in A. collaris the second primary is much longer than the sixth. A. nepalensis has, moreover, few white margins on the flanks, and is not so much barred beneath. Gilgit examples of A. nepalensis are paler than typical birds, but do not otherwise differ. Afghan specimens are still paler, and in Asia Minor an intermediate race is found. A. rufilatus, Severtzow, from Turkestan, appears to me to be identical with A. nepalensis. A. erythropygius, Swinhoe, from China, differs from the present species in having very rufous upper tail-coverts, and is doubtfully distinct.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Afghanistan and Gilgit to Sikhim, at very high elevations, Blanford recording this species from 14,000 feet. I have seen specimens from Sikhim killed in every month of the year, but in Gilgit this Accentor is represented to be merely a winter visitor.