(1962) Arborophila rufogularis rufogularis.
BLYTH'S or THE RUFOUS-THROATED PARTRIDGE.
Arboricola rufogularis Blyth, J. A. S. B,, xviii, p. 819 (1849) (Sikkim). Arboricola rufigularis. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 126.
Vernacular names. Peura (Kuman) ; Kohumbut (Lepcha); Pokhu (Dana).
Description.— Adult male. Crown olive-brown, the tips of the feathers blackish; forehead more grey and unspotted; lores and broad supercilia greyish-white streaked with black; sides of head the same, becoming rufous-brown on the posterior ear-coverts; a pure white streak from lower mandible to under ear-coverts ; nape olive-brown, marked with rufous, especially on the sides, and with large black drops and a few smaller ones of white or rufous-white ; upper parts glossy olive-brown, the rump and upper tail-coverts with black centres to the feathers ; scapulars and wing-coverts chestnut, with a large grey and a smaller black spot on each feather; primaries rufous-brown; secondaries brown, mottled with rufous, this colour increasing inwardly, the innermost secondaries being like the scapulars but with less grey; chin to fore-neck bright rufous, the chin and throat spotted with black and with white bases to the feathers; next the rufous a well-defined black band; breast and flanks slaty-grey, paler on the abdomen; the flanks marked with deep chestnut, most of the feathers with a white central spot or streak ; posterior flanks and vent pale rufous-brown, mottled with black and white; under tail-coverts rufous with broad black bars and white tips.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red-brown, orbital skin lake-red or dull crimson; bill black; legs red or salmon-red: claws horny.
Measurements. Wings 131 to 142 mm.; tail 50 to 56 mm.; tarsus 40 to 44 mm.; culmen 18 to 19 mm. Weight 7 to 10 1/2 ozs."(Hume).
Female differs from the male in having fewer black spots on the chin and throat and more white drops on the breast and abdomen.
Young male. Throat immaculate rufous-brown, much paler than in the adult; underparts smoky-slate with numerous white spots all over breast, abdomen and flanks.
Distribution. Kuman and Garhwal to the extreme East of Assam.
Nidification. The Rufous-throated Partridge breeds from the foot-hills up to 8,000 feet, from April in the lower elevations to July in the higher ranges. The nest has been described as a hollow in the ground with no lining, or a hollow well lined with a pad of grass, whilst Masson found a nest in thin grass near Darjeeling " well made of grass, with a deep cup and the grass prolonged to make the whole affair semi-domed." The number of eggs laid is uncertain. Eight have been recorded but Whymper took three hard-set at Naini Tal and three to five seem to be the normal clutch. They differ in no way from those of the other Arborophila eggs and twenty-four average 39.9 x 30.2 mm.: maxima 42.2 x 29.2 and 40.2 x 31.8 mm.; minima 37.2 x 30.6 and 38.4 x 26.9 mm.
The nest seems to be always placed in thick cover, generally evergreen-forest but also in bamboo-jungle, grass-land and patches of grass round about Tea Estates and cultivation. It is generally very well concealed and the hen is a close sitter.
Habits. The various races of the Rufous - throated Hill-Partridge are birds of lower elevation than those of the Common Hill-Partridge, though their habitat over the intermediate ranges, between 4,000 and 8,000 feet, may often overlap. They frequent heavy tree-forest but prefer such as is broken up with ravines and rocks and where there are space's without much undergrowth in which they can move about freely as they feed. They are also found in all other kinds of jungle and, generally speaking, their habits differ in no way from those of the next subspecies, a much better-known race.