(1975) Ammoperdix griseogularis griseogularis.
THE SEESEE PARTRIDGE.
Perdix griseogularis Brandt, Bull. Acad. St. Peter, i, p. 365 (1843) (Transcaspia). Ammoperdix bonhami. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 133.
Vernacular names. Sisi (Sind, Punjab); Tahu (Persian).
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, supercilium and a narrow line under the eye black; lores and behind the eye white, turning to rufous behind the ear-coverts; crown and nape ashy-grey, turning to vinous-red on the centre of the hind-neck, which is obsoletely barred with grey; back and interscapulars vinous-red, profusely marked with wavy bars of grey; lower back, rump, upper tail-coverts and central tail-feathers vinous-buff, very finely vermiculated with grey and with small central black arrow-heads ; outer tail-feathers chestnut, with paler faintly-vermiculated tips ; wings like the back, the primaries and secondaries light brown, all but the first barred with pale buff on the outer webs; sides of neck grey with broad white triangular spots ; chin fulvous-white changing to ashy-grey on the throat, sides of head and fore-neck ; breast vinous-buff, becoming more distinctly vinous on the lower breast and flanks and more yellow on the centre of abdomen and under tail-coverts; the feathers of the flanks and sides of the abdomen have internal edges of black and broad external margins of chestnut, paling to pearly-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris bright yellow, orange, orange-brown, dull red or light brown ; bill orange, dusky on the culmen, in some orange-horny; cere orange, orange-red or brownish in the non-breeding season; legs and feet dingy wax-yellow, greenish-yellow or dusky yellow, claws pale brown.
Measurements. Total length about 250 to 270 mm.; wing 123 to 139 mm.; tail 60 to 68 mm. ; tarsus 32 to 34 mm.; culmen about 11.0 to 12.5 mm. " Weight 7 to 8 oz." (Hume).
Female. Head like the back, which is similar to that of the male but with no red tinge ; the wing-coverts are less finely marked and the inner secondaries are much marked with brown ; the lower parts are coloured like the upper but paler, the throat and abdomen being albescent and the under tail-coverts buff.
Measurements. Wing 123 to 133 mm.
The depth of red or grey tinge in individual males varies considerably but to the same extent whether these are from Persia, Sind or the Punjab.
Distribution. Greater part of Persia, West to Berejik and Kamkale on the Euphrates, North to Trancaspia and Bokhara; Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Sind and East to the Khuriar Hills and the Salt Range in the Punjab. In Arabia and Western Mesopotamia it is replaced by a paler, more grey race, A. g. termeulin Zarudny.
Nidification. The See-see breeds over the whole of its range from the foot-hills up to about 6,000 or 7,000 ft. during the months of April, May and June. The site selected may be either on a quite open hill-side or it may be in a ravine ; in the latter case it is often well protected by an overhanging rock or bush but in the former it is merely placed on the shady side of some stone rather larger than the rest or under some scant tuft of withered grass or meagre bush. No nest is made, the hollow scratched out by the birds themselves having no lining or, at most, a very scanty one of grass and leaves. Five to fourteen eggs are laid, generally six to nine, pale cream or yellowish-stone in colour, smooth and fine in texture but generally quite glossless. Sixty eggs average 34.9 x 25.6 mm.: maxima 38.7 x 26.8 and 37.3 X 28.3 mm.; minima 32.0 x 24.6 and 34.4 x 23.5 mm.
Habits. The See-see is a bird of barren stony hills and open wastes and seems curiously addicted to old ruins in deserts and has even been known to nest in roofs of old buildings. They feed almost entirely on seeds, grass-seeds being the staple food, but doubtless also eat ants and small insects from time to time and almost certainly feed their young on them. Their call is a loud double whistle, from which the birds derive their name, generally uttered when the bird is perched on some high boulder or other elevated position. They fly well and afford good sport, though not big bags, and when shot are not bad-eating.