Ammoperdix bonhami

SEESEE.

Ammoperdix bonhami.

Sisi, Hindustani.

The sandy colour of the Seesee partridge, which much resembles that of the sand-grouse, whose desert dominion it invades, is a striking distinction from all our other partridges ; indeed, of these only the chukor is ever likely to be found along with it, and the red legs and conspicuous necklace of this are very distinctive points, as well as its much larger size; the Seesee is a very small partridge, only weighing about half a pound.

As in the case of the sand-grouse, whose more pigeon-like build at once distinguishes it from the Seesee, the two sexes have plumage which, though producing the same sandy effect, and closely assimilating them to the soil, is yet different in detail. The hen's is obscurely pencilled, but has no distinct or striking markings; the cock is rather peppered, and has some distinct colour touches in the chestnut and black streaking on his sides, which rather recalls that of the chukor, but is longitudinal instead of transverse ; the delicate grey on the head and throat, set off by a black eye stripe, are also distinctive of him, and he has a bright orange bill. "When showing off to the hen, he stands erect, and puffs out his striped flank-feathers so as to make himself look rather like a goblet or a lady in a crinoline. He has no spurs, and is believed not to fight; but I should think that very doubtful.

Seesee are only found in the desert hills in the North-west, and even in such districts they prefer the barest rocky ground ; though, as they feed on seeds and herbage, they not unfrequently come on to grassy places. But even scrub they usually avoid, for they need no cover, since all they have to do is to sit tight if they want to hide. Being great runners, and often over very bad ground at that, and having a trick of shooting straight downhill, they do not give much chance of a shot; in some places, however, they are remarkably tame; they give a rather harsh whistle when rising, but their characteristic call is the soft dissyllable which is imitated in their native name. They breed up to 4,000 feet elevation, laying usually amongst stones, with a little dry grass for a nest; eggs may be found as late as June, but generally some weeks earlier. The eggs are spotless cream colour, often nearly white, and the chicks when hatched are covered with creamy-buff down, and not striped as in the majority of young game birds; in fact, this species does pretty well conform throughout to the much overworked theory of protective coloration; and, indeed, as it is small and weak, and has not the powers of flight of the sand-grouse, one can see in its case why invisibility needs to be its main resource. It is found by some to be remarkably good eating; though Hume considered it inferior to a good chukor, and not of high quality. Outside India it ranges, if the country be dry enough, west to Persia, and a so-called species with but trifling distinctions (Ammoperdix heyi) is found on the confines of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf; but only these two, if they really are two, represent the particular type.

BookTitle: 
Indian Sporting Birds
Reference: 
Finn, Frank. Indian Sporting Birds. Edwards, 1915.
Title in Book: 
Ammoperdix bonhami
Book Author: 
Frank Finn
Year: 
1915
Page No: 
238
Common name: 
Seesee Partridge
M_ID: 
1167
M_CN: 
See-see Partridge
M_SN: 
Ammoperdix griseogularis
id: 
12396

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