39–41 cm. Upper mandible red-tipped yellow, lower yellow; head
slate grey with black half-collar from chin and throat upsides of neck; body
yellowish green tinged bluish on upperparts
; wings green with a maroon patch on lesser wing-coverts; tail
green basally shading through blue to yellow distally. Immature green with cheeks brownish, bill greyish.
Formerly considered conspecific with P. finschii (which see). Artificial hybrids of present species and P. cyanocephala have been shown to be responsible for the form treated in HBW as P. intermedia. Monotypic.
Himalayas from NE Afghanistan and N Pakistan E through N India and Nepal at least to Bhutan; recently recorded in Zhangmu (Tibet), next to Nepalese border (2).
Subtropical coniferous and deciduous woodlands, especially deodar (cedar) forest, cultivated areas with large trees, 600–2500 m, generally above 1350 m.
Nomadic in E Afghanistan, but elsewhere clear movements occur to lower-lying areas in winter, often first targeting cultivated areas, and in Pakistan, the period spent on breeding grounds is Mar–Aug.
Diet and Foraging
Camphor (Cinnamomum), Cornus, Viburnum and Duranta berries, acorns of Quercus dilatata, seeds of Rhus cotinus, Terminalia myriocarpa and Populus ciliata, flowers of Bauhinia purpurea, Woodfordia fruticosa, Bombax ceiba and Pistacia integerrima, and pods of Dalbergia. In some places, birds raid walnut, apple, and pear orchards, and cornfields.
Sounds and Vocal Behavior
Commonest vocalization a strident up slurred or over slurred whistle usually with a very grating start “krreEEh!” (shriller than P. finschii). When perched also utters short phrases with more melodious notes mixed in.
Mar–Jul, staggered with altitude. In Afghanistan, old nesting holes of Scaly-bellied Woodpecker (Picus squamatus) commonly used, while in Pakistan use of Quercus dilatata common; usually colonial. Eggs 3–5; in captivity, incubation 24 days, nestling period c. 40 days.
Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally common, but apparently very poorly documented in recent decades; uncommon in China.