749. Pyrrhoplectes epauletta.
The Gold-healed Black Finch.
Pyrrhula ? epauletta, Hodgs. As. Res. xix, p. 156 (1836). pyrrhoplectes epauletta (Hodgs.), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 455 ; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 392 ; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 65; Hums, Cat. no. 733; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xii, p. 386. Pyrrhuloides epauletta (Hodgs.), Blyth, Cat. p. 337.
The Gold-headed Black Bullfinch, Jerd.; Lho sampreh-pho, Lepch.
Coloration. Male. The whole plumage black except the hinder part of the crown and nape, which are golden orange, the axillaries and a small portion of the middle abdomen, which are orange-buff, the under wing-coverts and the inner webs of the tertiaries, which are white.
Female. Forehead, anterior part of crown, lores, round the eyes, and base of cheeks ashy grey more or less suffused with olive-yellow, and turning to this colour entirely on the remainder of the crown, the ear-coverts, and the sides of the head ; hind neck, sides of neck, and upper back ashy grey, turning to chestnut-brown, which is the colour of the lower back, rump, upper tad-coverts, scapulars, and visible portions of the wing-coverts ; wings and tail dark brown, the tertiaries rufous on the outer, white on the inner, webs; entire lower plumage chestnut-brown except the axillaries, which are orange-buff, and the under wing-coverts, which are whitish.
The nestling resembles the adult female and moults into female adult plumage at the first autumn moult; the young males acquire the adult plumage during the first winter and by a very gradual process extending over several months.
Bill dusky horny ; legs brown; iris brown (Jerdon).
Length nearly 6 ; tail 2.4 ; wing 3.1; tarsus .75; bill from gape .5.
Distribution. The Himalayas from the eastern side of the valley of the Sutlej to Sikhim. Blanford met with this species in Sikhim at 11,000 feet.
Habits, &c. Little is recorded of the habits of this bird. Hodgson says it is shy, adhering to the forests.