The genus Montifringilla is closely allied to the genus Petronia in structure, but the wings are rather longer and the bill less deep though otherwise similar in outline. The birds of this genus are characterized by a large amount of white on the wings and tail. The sexes are alike or nearly so. The claws are somewhat lengthened. The tail is perfectly square, the middle feathers being as long as the others.
The Mountain-Finches are found at high elevations feeding in flocks on the ground.
Key to the Species.
a. Sides of neck ferruginous ; lores black.
a1. Chin black ; no moustachial streaks……………………M. blanfordi, p. 245.
b1. Chin white ; black moustachial streaks……………………M. ruficollis, p. 245.
b. Sides of neck pale fulvous; lores pale; no black marks on the head……………………M. adamsi, p. 246.
Montifringilla mandellii, Hume (S. F. iv. p. 488), was procured by Mandelli in Tibet, north of Sikhim. It does not appear to have yet been met with in British territory. This species resembles M. ruficollis, but has no ferruginous on the sides of the head and neck, nor Las it any trace of the black moustachial streaks. The bill in the dry state is yellow with a black tip, not bluish black throughout as in M. ruficollis. Wing 4.1; tail 3.
M. alpicola (Pall.) occurs in Persia and Afghanistan. In the latter country this species was procured by Griffith "near Gurdan Dewar, on the Helmund, at an elevation of 11,500 feet" (Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 491). The specimen referred to is now in the British Museum. This species has a very long bill, a wing measuring 4.7, and the wing-coverts and secondaries entirely white.