(1043) Pyrrhula aurantiaca.
The Orange Bullfinch.
Pyrrhula aurantiaca Gould, P. Z. S., 1857, p. 222 (Kashmir); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 204.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Adult male. Forehead, lores, chin, cheeks and round the eye velvety-black 5 rump, under tail-coverts and axillaries white, sometimes suffused with pink; lesser and median wing-coverts orange with subterminal grey bars to each feather; greater coverts black with the terminal third orange-rufous ; remainder of wings, upper tail-coverts and tail black ; remainder of body plumage deep pinkish orange.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown or hazel; bill black; legs and feet fleshy-pink.
Measurements. Total length about 140 mm.; wing 80 to 83 mm.; tail 57 to 58 mm.; tarsus 18 mm. 5 culmen about 6 to 10 mm.
Female. Crown, nape, sides of the head and upper back ashy-brown changing to yellowish brown on the lower back, scapulars and lesser wing-coverts ; throat and breast pale dull orange-rufous changing to dull yellow on the abdomen and posterior flanks ; remaining plumage as in the male but the greater wing-coverts tipped with pale yellowish-brown instead of orange.
Young males are said (Jerdon) to have the underparts, etc, bright orange-yellow instead of deep orange-pink. The series in the British Museum shows every gradation from one colour to the other and the variation may be individual rather than a question of age.
Distribution. Himalayas from Gilgit, Hazara and Chitral to Simla States and Garhwal.
Nidification. A collector working for Col. A. E. "Ward and myself found this Bullfinch breeding on the Rowal Nulla. Kolapur, Kashmir, at about 12,000 feet. Two nests were rather small, compact cups, made principally of grass mixed with twigs, dried moss and roots, lined with musk-deer hair, placed low down in juniper bushes. Each nest contained three eggs, pure white lightly marked with bright reddish-brown specks and spots rather more numerous at the larger end, and measuring about 20.9 x 15.0 mm.
Rattray found it breeding at Moranjani, Murree Hills, at about 10,000 feet.
Habits. Practically nothing recorded. None of the Indian Bullfinches are truly migratory, though they all move vertically to some extent with the season. They are never, however, found in the Plains of India as are some of the truly migratory Finches.