The Hill-Partridges, of which there are seven species found within our limits, are birds of about the size of the English Partridge. Most of them are brightly coloured, and all of them are characterised by having the neck or throat, or both, spotted in such a manner as to form a feature which cannot be overlooked. The feathers of the throat are moreover rather meagre, and the red skin of that part is in life, or in freshly killed birds, generally very conspicuous. The tail of these birds, composed of 14 feathers, is of the same general colour as the upper plumage, namely, olive-brown mottled with black. The quills of the wing are uniformly coloured, and the first falls short of the tip of the wing by about an inch.
The sexes are alike in plumage and size, except in one species, where the differences of plumage are very considerable. All the Hill-Partridges have long toes and claws but no spur. They frequent the thickest jungle, fly for very short distances, and afford little sport. They are confined to the Himalayas and to the countries east of the Bay of Bengal.
The Hill-Partridges may be divided into two sections by the formation of certain bones over the eye, and in a more practical manner by their plumage. The first section (Arboricola) contains six species, all of which have white spots on the sides of the body and large black oval patches on the inner feathers of the wing. The sides of the body of many of these birds are also adorned with beautiful chestnut marks. The second section (Tropicoperdix) contains only one species. This is without white spots on the sides of the body or black spots on the wings, but it has a huge patch of soft downy white feathers on the side of the body, which is visible, however, only when the wing is lifted up and the ordinary feathers pushed aside.