THE KALIJ- AND SILVER-PHEASANTS.
This, the largest group of Indian Game Birds, is of very wide distribution throughout the Himalayas and Burma. Of the eleven species found within our limits, three species are now described for the first time, and probably others remain to be discovered.
The term "Kalij" has been hitherto applied to the four species of the group which inhabit the Himalayas. In the males of these species the upper plumage is black, with the exception of certain white fringes which are to be found on the rump of three of the species. I retain the term " Kalij" for these four species.
I apply the term " Silver" to those Pheasants of the group in which the upper plumage is vermiculated or otherwise irregularly marked with white, or in some cases with buff. Most of these Silver-Pheasants also have white rump-fringes. The disposition and form of these markings and fringes are of the greatest importance in determining the various species, and have been too little studied.
In the Pheasants of this group, both the sexes have a crest composed of soft, narrow feathers, usually three inches long in the males and somewhat shorter in the females. The male has a large portion of the side of the head naked and of a crimson colour; the female has a smaller portion of the face naked. The male has a strong spur on each leg.
The tail of these Pheasants, composed of 16 feathers, resembles in shape that of our domestic poultry, the two halves of the tail being compressed together. In the male, the middle feathers are long and drooping as in the common cock.
The first three species of Kalij-Pheasants on my list have the plumage lanceolate as in the Koklass-Pheasants. In the fourth species, and in all the Silver-Pheasants, the plumage is of the ordinary kind.