30. THE WHITE-CHEEKED HILL-PARTRIDGE.
Arboricola atrigularis, Blyth.
Sides of the body with small oval white spots, but with no trace of chestnut. Cheeks white ; throat black.
Vernacular Names :—Peura, Sylhet; Duboi, Assam ; San-batai, Chittagong.
The White-cheeked Hill-Partridge occurs from the Bhramaputra river southwards to Chittagong on the west and to the Kachin Hills, in the neighbourhood of Bhamo, on the east. In Assam it appears to be restricted to the south bank of the Bhramaputra from Sadiya to the Garo Hills. It has been met with in Cachar, Sylhet, Tipperah, Manipur and Chittagong, and this Partridge will probably be met with over a great part of Upper Burma as far as the southern limit of the wet zone.
Very little is known of this species. Mr. Cripps, as quoted by Messrs. Hume and Marshall, says :—" Though greatly
affecting dense forest, these birds are also partial to bamboo jungle. . . . Their call, which is often heard, especially towards dusk, is a rolling whistle, whew, whew, repeated many times, and winding up with a sharper and more quickly uttered whew. The sound is very easily imitated, and the birds are easily enticed to approach one by the imitation, and this is the way in which natives usually secure them."
Mr. Cripps also gives us the following note regarding the nesting of this Partridge:—"On the 15th April, 1876, I secured a nest of this bird in Sylhet containing two perfectly fresh eggs. Again on the 18th May of that year I secured four hard-set eggs from a nest. Both nests were placed at the foot of large trees which stood at the tops of teelahs or hillocks; a few scanty bushes grew about under the trees, but the whole place looked very dark and gloomy. The nests were mere linings of leaves and twigs which had been placed in slight depressions, apparently hollowed out by the birds. The teelahs were about a hundred and fifty or two hundred feet in height."
The eggs were broad ovals, pointed towards the small end. They were probably pure white when fresh, but at the time they were taken they had acquired some stains. In length the eggs measure from 1.33 to 1.43, and in breadth from 1.1 to 1.13.
The crown of the head in this species is olive-brown with black spots or streaks, and the eye is enclosed by two black bands which join and run down the sides of the neck. The upper plumage is olive-brown, irregularly but closely cross-barred throughout with black. The closed wings are pale olive-brown, many of the feathers with an oval black spot and a chestnut tip. The first ten quills of the wing are plain brown. The cheeks are white and the throat and part of the sides of the neck are deep black. The remaining portion of the sides of the neck is rufous streaked with black. The foreneck is black, the feathers margined at the sides with white. The breast is deep grey with some 'black spots on the upper part, and the belly is pale ashy. The sides of the body are deep grey, each feather with a small oval white drop generally followed by some black.
Length about 10 1/2; wing about ; tail about 2 1/4; legs and bare skin of the head red; irides brown; bill black. Weight up to 11 oz.