(1049) Pyrrhoplectes epauletta,
The Gold-headed Black Flinch.
Pyrrhula epauletta Hodgs., As. Res., xix, p. 156 (1836) (Nepal). Pyrrhoplectes epauletta. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 207.
Vernacular names. Lho-sampreh-pho (Lepcha).
Description. - Adult male. Anterior crown and nape glistening golden-orange ; inner web of inner secondaries white ; under wing-coverts white more or less tinged with buff; axillaries and a varying amount of the centre of the abdomen orange-red ; remaining plumage black.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown or black ; bill horny-brown, blacker on the culmen; legs and feet brown or " olive-brown " (Forrest).
Measurements. Total length about 140 mm.; wing 75 to 79 mm.; tail 58 to 60 mm.; tarsus about 19 to 20 mm.; culmen about 11 mm.
Female. Lores, forehead and front of crown, cheeks and round the eye ashy-grey tinged with yellow, becoming more yellow on the hind crown, nape, sides of head and neck; upper back ashy-brown, grading into chestnut-brown on the wing-coverts, scapulars, back, rump and upper tail-coverts ; primary-coverts, wing-quills and tail dark brown, the innermost secondaries chestnut-brown on the outer webs and edged with white inside; under wing-coverts white; axillaries orange-buff; remaining lower plumage paler chestnut-brown.
The Nestling resembles the adult female.
Young males gradually acquire the adult plumage, retaining a great deal of chestnut on the under parts and, to a less extent, on the upper for some months.
Distribution. Himalayas from the Sutlej to Sikkim; Yunnan.
Nidification. Nothing recorded.
Habits. Similar to those of the Bullfinches, feeding on berries, seeds etc., which it searches for on trees, bushes and also on the ground. It keeps in Summer to elevations between 10,000 and 15,000 feet.