(1047) Pyrrhula nipalensis nipalensis.
The Brown Bullfinch.
Pyrrhula nipalensis Hoda:s., As. Res., xix, p. 155 (1836) (Nepal). Pyrrhula nepalensis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 206.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Adult male. Lores, feathers round the bill and a narrow ring round the eye dark brown ; crown and nape blackish brown, each feather margined with light ashy-brown;, back, lesser and median wing-coverts and about three quarters of the terminal portions of the inner greater coverts ashy-brown tinged with chocolate; innermost secondary edged with crimson on the outer web; remainder of wing, upper tail-coverts and tail black glossed with purple, and with bronze on the central tail-feathers; rump white posteriorly, blackish next the back ; a patch of white under and behind the eye; below ashy vinous-brown, albescent on the middle of the abdomen; under wing-coverts, axillaries and under tail-coverts white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill greenish horn with a black tip; legs fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 160 mm.; wing 85 to 90 mm.; tail 73 to 77 mm,; tarsus about 17 mm.; culmen 11 to 12 mm.
Female differs from the male in having the innermost secondary marked with yellow instead of crimson.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Gilgit to Eastern Assam ; it has also been obtained in Fokhien and Kuatun in China, and birds from these parts seem hardly separable though they are perhaps a trifle darker. They also seem to have the white patch under the eye obsolete or absent. Birds from Gilgit are pale, but there are only four specimens of these in the British Museum Collection and more material is required before geographical races can be determined.
Nidification. Mr. P. Morrison took three Bullfinches' nests in the last week of August on the Tonglo Mountains at about 10,000 feet. The nests were small cups of grass mixed with fine twigs, roots and dried moss, lined with fine black roots and decorated outside with a few scraps of green moss. They were placed quite low down in bushes. They contained three, two and one eggs respectively, very much like those of the Red-headed Bullfinch and measuring about 20.2 x 15.1 mm.
Habits. There is very little on record about this bird. It breeds at lofty elvations, probably not under 9,000 feet, possibly much higher than this. A. E. Jones met with small parties at Kumlar Dhor at 11,000 feet in September and thinks it must have been breeding there. Major Kingston shot a female near Dharmsala between 6,000 and 8,000 feet in February. Generally speaking and, as far as is known at present, in voice, food and habits it differs but little from the preceding species.