1379. Tetraogallus tibetanus.
The Tibetan Snow-Cock.
Tetraogallus tibetanus, Gould, P. Z. S. 1853, p. 47 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii. pt. 2, p. 68; Stanford, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 72 ; Hume & Marsh. Game B. i, p. 275, pl.; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 430 ; id. Cat. no. 816 bis ; Sharpe, Yarkand Miss., Aves, p. 123; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 104.
Hrak-pa, Bhot. (Sikhim).
Coloration. Sides of forehead, ear-coverts, chin, and throat white; remainder of head and neck dark grey, slightly speckled with whitish, and passing into the paler, more buffy, finely vermi¬culated upper back; lower back, scapulars, tertiaries, and wing-coverts blackish grey, finely vermiculated with buff, and broadly streaked with buffy white or in some birds darker buff, from the feathers having broad buff edges; rump, upper tail-coverts, and middle tail-feathers mare rufous, more coarsely vermiculated, and without whitish spots ; primaries and secondaries greyish brown, without white at the base; inner primaries and the secondaries white-tipped, and the white running up the outer web in, the secondaries ; outer tail-feathers blackish brown with rufous tips ; upper breast white, like throat, but divided from the lower breast by a dark grey band; remainder of lower parts white with broad black streaks, broadest on the flanks.
It appears almost certain that the two sexes are alike when adult, except that the male has a thick spur. In immature birds the upper breast and sides of the neck are dark grey speckled and vermiculated with pale buff, the white being restricted to the chin and middle' of the throat; the lower border of the upper breast is purer grey. Still younger birds have the upper plumage much spotted and mottled, and they want the black marks on the lower parts.
Bill dull red ; irides brown ; orbits red ; legs' red. The bill is said by Hume to be greenish horny in females, but they were perhaps immature.
Length of male about 20; tail 7; wing 10.5; tarsus 2.4; bill from gape 1.3 : female rather less.
Distribution. The higher Tibetan plateaus and some of the ranges around Yarkand and Kashghar. Within Indian limits this species has been found in Ladak, at the head of the Spiti valley, and in very high tracts in Kumaun and Sikhim.
Habits, &c. Similar to those of T. himalayensis; but this species keeps to even higher elevations, rarely, if ever, descending below 15,000 feet in summer. Nidification unknown.