29. Graculus eremita.
The Red-hilled Chough.
Corvus graculus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 158 (1766). Corvus eremita, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 159 (1766). Fregilus graculus (Linn.), Blyth, Cat. p. 91: Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 549; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 69; Brooks, S. F. iv, p. 278; Hume & Henders. hah. to York. p. 243. Fregilus himalayanus, Gould, P. Z. S. 1862, p. 125; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 319; Stoliczha, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 55. Graculus graculus (Linn,), Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 146. Graculus eremita (Linn.), Hume, S. F. vii, pp. 149, 521; id. Cat. no. 679; Oates in Humes N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 31.
The Himalayan Chough, Jerd.; Tsagh, Kandahar.
Coloration. The whole plumage glossy black. Legs and feet vermilion-red ; claws black ; iris brown (Seebohm).
Length about 17.5; tail 6.5; wing 11.1 to 12.5; tarsus 2.2; bill at front 2.1.
The Himalayan bird cannot be separated from the European one on the score of size, and I believe that no one now considers them separable.
Distribution. Kashmir and the whole of the Himalayas as far as Bhutan. The range extends to Europe and Abyssinia on one side, and to China on the other.
In Kashmir Biddulph informs us that Choughs are common at low elevations in winter, but in summer they keep entirely to the mountains. Stoliczka states that in Chini the Chough in summer is found only at elevations above 11,000 feet, and in Spiti above 13,000 feet. Blanford observed it in Sikhim from 9000 to 16,000 feet.
Habits, &c. Mandelli obtained the eggs of this bird from Chumbi in Tibet. They were taken on the 8th May from a nest under the eaves of a high wooden house. Hume describes them as white, spotted and streaked with yellowish brown and purplish grey. One egg measured 1.74 by 1.2.