1946. Bambusicola fytchii hopkinsoni

(1946) Bambusicola fytchli hopkinsoni Godw.-Aust.
Bambusicola fytchli hopkinsoni, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. v. p. 360.
In Assam this is the most common of all Game-Birds, extending from Cachar and Sylhet, through the Patkoi Range, to Lakhimpur, South of the Brahmapootra. It is equally plentiful in the Chin Hills and extends to the Arakan Yomas. Where this bird meets the last is not yet known, but probably it does not extend beyond the Chin Hills East.
It may be found in any kind of country from a little over 1,000 feet up to 5,000 feet, but its favourite resorts are hillsides, steep or nearly sloping, covered with long sun-grass and with forest, scrub- or bamboo-jungle close alongside. If there is a stream running along the bottom of the hill so much the better, while the grass they prefer is from 2 to 3 feet high, though I have found them in long rank growths over 5 feet. They do not seem to like the vast expanses of sun-grass laud beloved by the Black and Painted Partridges, nor, on the other band, do they wander into the interior of Pine or evergreen forests, though they may be found at the edges of them and, rarely, nests may be taken in Pine-forest in ravines at the edge of it.
In the Naga Hills they ascend higher than in Cachar, and J. P. Mills took nests at about 7,000 feet near Kohima, while in Lakhimpur they are found in the plains next the hills at about 700 feet.
The nest may be placed in scrub, bamboo-jungle, secondary growth or in sun-grass but, if the latter, it is generally close to cover of some kind. Sometimes a natural hollow is selected, occasionally the birds scratch one out for themselves but, often, the eggs are laid on a pile of dead leaves with no hollow at all. I have never seen eggs laid on bare ground or on short grass and, generally, a good pile of dead leaves is collected or selected to receive the eggs. If the eggs are laid in grass-land the birds usually choose a rather high patch where the old blades, roots and fallen scraps form a well hidden, soft and sufficient bed but, when laid in bamboo-jungle, they are often deposited on the fallen leaves in the open without any attempt at concealment, I once came across such a clutch of eggs and, though the bird scurried away from only a few feet distant, it took me a long time to find them, they so exactly matched the dead yellow bamboo-leaves all round them.
The birds breed generally in the end of March, April and May, but many also breed in Jane, and I have taken eggs as late as September and as early as the first week in March.
The full clutch of eggs is four or five, most often the latter, and I have found three eggs hard-set or as many as seven fresh, though this number is exceptional.
The eggs, of course, are indistinguishable from those of the pre¬ceding subspecies and, like them, are among the hardest-shelled birds’ eggs I have seen. The variation in depth of colour is very slight, excessively pale or deep-coloured eggs being very rare.
Two hundred eggs average 40.2 x 29.0 mm. : maxima 41.8 x 29.9 and 40.8 x 31.9 mm. ; minima 36.4 x 27.9 and 38.5 x 27.0 mm.
Pigmy eggs are very common and I have seen at least twenty of them, once two occurring in the same clutch of five eggs.
This Partridge is monogamous and, I think, pairs for life, each pair having a definite small area which they occupy, while the coveys met with are, I think, always composed of just the parents and their last batch, of young. The male takes as much interest in the chicks as the female does, though he does not help in incubation. The female carries this on alone and sits very close, flustering off the eggs when she is almost trodden on, even when she has ample warning to allow her to get away unnoticed.
In the breeding season the male is very pugilistic, and utters his ringing challenge morning, noon and evening, but I have never seen either the full display or a fight.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 4. 1935.
Title in Book: 
1946. Bambusicola fytchii hopkinsoni
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Assam Bamboo Partridge
Bambusicola fytchii hopkinsoni
Vol. 4

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