Blanford’s Snowfinch Pyrgilauda blanfordi
- Pyrgilauda : Mix of genus Pyrgita – sparrow and genus Alauda –
- Blanfordi : Named after English zoologist Dr WilliamThomas Blanford (1832–1905)
Vernacular Names : Tibetan: Abye-po
Distribution in India: Resident Northern Himalayas in India.
Description: Size of 14-15 cm. It is a colourful finch-like bird with fairly small, conical bill. The nominate race has characteristic face pattern of white forehead bisected by black, black line through eye and creamy-white cheek, reddish-chestnut nape, upper back and side of throat, and small black bib; upperparts sandy brown, streaked darker brown; upperwing-coverts like back, greater coverts with paler edges and tips, alula and primary coverts darker, flight-feathers dark brown with whitish edging, pale patch at base of secondaries and inner primaries; central rectrices brown to grey-brown, remainder white with darker smudges and black tips; underparts creamy white, breast washed warm buffish; iris brown; bill slaty black; legs black. Both the sexes are similar, the female sometimes with head markings greyer and less black than the male’s.
Habitat: It is found in dry sandy plains and stony areas on edges of sparse, grassy steppes and in neighborhood of habitations; associates with Pikas and voles at 4000–5500 m.
Food Habits: It eats seeds and insects. It forages on ground; runs extensively, digs with legs and bill. It forages near human settlement in winter. Usually found in pairs and small flocks; larger gatherings outside breeding.
Breeding Habits: They breed in May-June in India. They breed in loose colony and are strongly territorial. They have hovering display-flight. They nest in burrow of small mammal, principally Pika or Brandt’s vole.