32. THE GREEN-LEGGED HILL-PARTRIDGE.
Arboricola chloropus, Tickell.
Sides of the body without any white spots, but with a large patch of downy white feathers partially concealed by the ordinary feathers. Throat white spotted with black.
Vernacular Name -.—Toung-hka, Burmese.
The Green-legged Hill-Partridge is found generally throughout Northern and Central Tenasserim from Papun on the north to Tavoy on the south. It also occurs on the eastern slopes of the Pegu Hills in the latitude of Toungoo, where I observed it to be fairly common. It probably extends down these hills to Rangoon. Outside of our limits it has been procured in Cochin China only.
The late Colonel Tickell, the discoverer of this species, thus wrote about it (he refers to Tenasserim): " It appears tolerably numerous, but, as far as my observations go, is entirely confined to the forests on the banks of the Zummee river. Unlike its known congeners, it avoids mountains and inhabits low, though not humid, jungles, where the ground merely undulates or rises into hillocks. Like the rest of its tribe it is difficult to flush, and runs with great rapidity, jumping adroitly over obstacles, and diving into impenetrable thickets for security. Early in the mornings these birds come out on the pathway, scratching about amongst the elephant's dung and turning over the dead leaves for insects. They do not appear to have any crow or call, though during the pairing season this may not be the case. The Karens did not even know the bird ; but this is no proof of its rarity, for these people pay no attention to the living products of their forests."
My experience of these birds differs from that of Colonel Tickell, inasmuch as in the Pegu Hills I met with this Partridge only in the steepest ravines and valleys, and mostly in dense evergreen vegetation.
The late Mr. Davison, however, wrote : " This species is most abundant in thin tree jungle, but is also found in thick forest. It is usually met with in pairs, but sometimes in small parties, gliding about on the ground amongst the dense brushwood, and scratching about among the dead leaves, hunting for insects and seeds. Its note is a low, soft, double whistle, which is chiefly heard in the morning and evening. Without dogs they are very hard to procure, as they will not rise, but run only a short distance, and then squat close under some cover."
In this species the crown and the hindneck are rich brown; the forehead and a broad band over the eye, extending to beyond the back of the head, white streaked with black; the chin almost pure white; the throat and cheeks white spotted with black; and the sides of the neck and the foreneck chestnut spotted with black. The whole upper plumage and tail are a rich olive-brown tinged with rufous ; every part cross-barred in a wavy irregular manner with black, and the wings mottled and blotched with black, reddish brown and olive-brown. The first ten quills of the wing are brown slightly mottled at the tip. The lower part of the front of the neck is brown. The upper part of the breast, its sides and the sides of the body are ferruginous, irregularly barred with black, and the middle of the breast is plain ferruginous or pale chestnut. The belly is whitish. On the side of the body, under the wing, there is a large patch of white downy feathers which is partially hidden and requires to be looked for.
Length about 11 1/2; wing about 6 ; tail about 3; legs greenish; irides dark brown; bill greenish. Weight up to 12 oz.