THE GALLINACEOUS BIRDS

THE GALLINACEOUS BIRDS.

GALLINE— ALECTOROPODES.

The Gallinaceous Birds embrace those Game Birds which have a foot resembling that of the domestic fowl, and comprise the Quails, Partridges, Pheasants, Pea-Fowl, and some other groups, more or less peculiar to India.

The Gallinaceous Birds differ so remarkably among themselves in appearance and structure that no general description of these birds can be given. I have found it equally impossible to divide them into a few large groups by any definite characters. The line of demarcation between two such groups, for instance, as the Partridges and the Pheasants is purely arbitrary, especially when we have to deal with a number of Indian species which connect by a chain of links the typical Partridge and Pheasant of the sportsman.

The division of this large section of birds, comprising sixty-eight species, is rendered still more difficult by reason of the great difference which exists in the form and plumage of the two sexes of many of the species.

In order therefore to render the identification of both sexes of these game birds as easy as possible, I have found it necessary to make use of a considerable number of small natural groups, which are designated, in almost all cases, by names familiar to the Indian sportsman.

Each of these groups is defined by a combination of a few simple characters, and no combination is common to two groups. Should the sportsman, therefore, meet with a game bird of this section with which he is unacquainted, his first step will be to find from the following statement the group to which it belongs. I believe he will have no difficulty in locating the bird, whether it be an adult cock or hen or a fully grown young bird.

For further particulars regarding the structural characters of each group, the reader is referred to the introductory article on each group.

SYNOPSIS OF THE GROUPS OF GALLINACEOUS BIRDS TREATED OF IN THIS WORK.

Quails.— Of very small size; length under 8 ½ inches; tail short and pointed, the feathers concealed, involved, and not readily separable from each other; the sides of the body streaked, or, when this is not the case, the outer web of the first ten quills of the wing unmarked. Of wide distribution. P. 78.

Bush-Quails.— Of very small size; length barely over 7 inches; the sides of the body never streaked, and the outer web of the first ten quills of the wing always marked. Of wide distribution. P. 99.

Mountain-Quails.— Of medium size ; length between 9 and 10 inches; tail 3 inches long, the 10 feathers large, exposed to view, readily separable from each other, and not involved as in the Quails. The Himalayas. P. 119.

Wood-Partridges. — Rather smaller than an English Partridge; the claw of the hind toe not developed, but presenting the appearance of being shorn off close to the tip of the toe. Southern Tenasserim. P. 125.

Hill-Partridges.— About the size of an English Partridge; the throat or neck, or portions of either or both, spotted or streaked; the sides of the body with large white spots or with a partially concealed and very large patch of downy white feathers; no spur on the leg. The Himalayas and the Indo-Burmese countries. P. 131.

Francolins.— About the size of an English Red-legged Partridge; the first ten quills of the wing barred on both webs; the tail black with some narrow white bars. Of wide distribution. P. 155.

Grey Partridges.— One species of the size of a small English Partridge, the other that of an English Red-legged Partridge ; the first ten quills of the wing without any bars; the upper plumage regularly cross-barred; the tail largely chestnut. Of wide distribution. P. 169.

Red-legged Partridges.— About the size of an English Red-legged Partridge ; the first ten quills of the wing without bars, but with a portion of the outer web of each feather buff; the tail largely chestnut. The Himalayas and the hills of the N.W. Frontier. P. 178.

Rock-Partridges.— Considerably smaller than an English Partridge; tail of 12 feathers; the first ten quills of the wing barred on the outer web only; the tail largely chestnut. The hills of the N.W. of India. P. 184.

Partridges.— About the size of an English Partridge; tail of 16 feathers; the first ten quills of the wing barred on both webs; the tail largely chestnut. The Himalayas. P. 190.

Snow-Partridges.— About the size of a Ptarmigan ; the tarsus feathered halfway down to the toes ; eyelid completely feathered. The Himalayas. P. 195.

Snow-Cocks.-— About the size of a large fowl; the first quill of the wing reaching almost to the tip of the wing ; tail of 20 or more feathers. The Himalayas. P. 200.

Bamboo-Partridges.— About the size of an English Red-legged Partridge ; the first ten quills of the wing largely chestnut ; the sides of the body with large heart-shaped black spots; the upper plumage unbarred; the first quill of the wing falling short of the tip of the tenth. The Indo- Burmese countries. P. 208.

Spur-Fowl.— About the size of an English Red-legged Partridge; the first ten quills of the wing brown; with a short bushy crest half an inch in length at the utmost; the shafts of the feathers of the rump highly spinous ; the first quill of the wing falling short of the tip of the tenth. The Continent of India and Ceylon. P. 213.

Blood-Pheasants.— About the size of a small fowl; tail of 14 feathers; with a bushy crest of soft feathers about is inch in length. The Himalayas. P. 227.

Peacock-Pheasants.— About the size of a hen Pheasant; tail of 20 feathers marked with brilliant metallic ocelli in pairs. The Indo-Burmese countries. P. 233.

Horned Pheasants.— About the size of a Guinea- Fowl; tail of 18 or 20 feathers, rounded, the outermost feather reaching beyond the middle of the tail; the first quill of the wing falling short of the tip of the wing by more than one inch ; horny part of bill between nostril and tip about half an inch in length. The Himalayas and the Indo-Burmese Hills. P. 239.

Moonal-Pheasants.— About the size of a Guinea- Fowl; tail of 18 or 20 feathers, rounded, the outermost feathers reaching beyond the middle of the tail; the first quill of the wing falling short of the tip of the wing by more than one inch; horny part of bill between nostril and tip more than one inch in length. The Himalayas and Assam. P. 258.

Pea-Fowl.— Of very large size; wing 16 inches or more; tail of 20 feathers; a large portion of the side of the head naked. Of wide distribution. P. 272.

Argus-Pheasants.— Of large size ; tail of 12 feathers; the inner quills of the wing longer than the first ten quills; head and neck for the most part naked. Tenasserim. P. 284.

Cheer-Pheasants.— About the size of a large English Pheasant; tail of 18 feathers, long, pointed and much gradu¬ated ; with a full pointed crest; outermost tail-feather falling far short of the middle of the tail. The Himalayas. P. 292.

True Pheasants.— About the size of an English Pheasant; tail of 18 feathers, long, pointed and much graduated; with a very short, blunt crest; outermost tail-feather falling far short of the middle of the tail. The Shan States. P. 298.

Barred-backed Pheasants.— About the size of an English hen-pheasant; tail of 16 feathers; no crest, the feathers of the crown merely lengthened; sides of the head partially naked; no portion of the plumage lanceolate. The Indo-Burmese countries. P. 302.

Koklass-Pheasants.— About the size of an English Pheasant; tail of 16 feathers; with a full crest more than one inch in length; sides of the head entirely feathered; portions of the plumage lanceolate. The Himalayas. P. 311.

Kalij- and Silver-Pheasants.— About the size of an English Pheasant; tail of 16 feathers; portions of the side of the head naked and crimson; with a full pointed soft crest more than one inch in length. The Himalayas and the Indo- Burmese countries. P. 322.

Jungle-Fowl.— About the size of a small domestic fowl; tail of 14 feathers ; the feathers of the mantle hackled; the two halves of the tail folded together as in the domestic fowl. Of wide distribution. P. 364.

Fireback-Pheasants.— About the size of a large domestic fowl; tail of 16 feathers ; portions of the sides of the head naked and blue : with a full crest of stiff feathers. Tenasserim. P. 378.

BookTitle: 
A Manual Of The Game Birds Of India(land Birds)
Reference: 
Oates, Eugene Wifliam. A manual of the game birds of India. Vol.1. 1898.
Title in Book: 
THE GALLINACEOUS BIRDS.
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates
Year: 
1898
Page No: 
70
Common name: 
THE GALLINACEOUS BIRDS.
Volume: 
Vol. 1
id: 
9666

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