1356. Coturnix coromandelica.
The Black-breasted or Rain Quail.
Tetrao coromandelicus, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i, pt. 2, p. 764 (1788). Coturnix coromandelica, Bonn. Tabl. Encycl. Meth. i, p. 221 (1790); Blyth, Cat. p. 255; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 588; Hume, N. & E. p. 550; id. S. F. i, pp. 136, 227 ; Adam, ibid. p. 393 ; Oates, S. F. iii, p. 178; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 151 ; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 7 ; v, p. 231 ; ix, p. 423; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 226; Cripps, ibid. p. 298; Hume & Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 151, pl.; Hume, Cat. no. 830 ; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 76 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 63; Hanson, ibid. p. 411; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 333; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 316; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 310; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 444; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 241.
Most of the names used for C. communis are applied also to this species by natives of India. The following are peculiar to the present form :—
Chinna Bater, H.; Chanac, Nepal; Kade, Tam.; Chinna Yellichi, Tel,
Coloration. Very similar to that of C. communis, especially on the upper parts, but the present bird is distinguished by its smaller size and by having no pale cross-bars on the primary quills. The male may be recognized by having the dark marks on the face and throat blacker, and by having broad median black stripes on the feathers of the breast and flanks, the amount of black on the breast increasing with age till, in old birds, nearly the whole breast is black, and there is even in less aged individuals a large black patch in the middle. The sides of the lower neck and upper breast are chiefly or wholly rufous-buff with a vinous tinge.
Bill in the male bluish black to dusky, in the female brownish horny ; irides clear to dark brown ; legs pale fleshy (Hume).
Length about 7; tail 1.25; wing 3.5; tarsus 1; bill from gape .5.
Distribution. A resident or partially migratory bird, found throughout the greater part of India and in the Irrawaddy valley in Burma. It has not been recorded from other parts of Burma, but it has been found in Manipur, in Assam near Dibrugarh, in Sylhet, and around Chittagong; so it doubtless occurs throughout the countries between India and Burma in suitable places. It has not been observed in Ceylon nor in the extreme south of India, but with this exception it is met with at times in open grassy or cultivated ground throughout India up to the lower ranges of the Himalayas. It is common in Sind in the summer, but is not known to visit the Western or North-western Punjab. It is not known to occur outside the empire.
Habits, &c. Thi3, like the Grey Quail, is rarely, if ever, met with in forest; it keeps much to grass of no great height and to growing crops. Although resident in many parts of India, it shifts its ground with the seasons, and it only visits Northern Bengal, Oudh, Behar, the N.W. Provinces, the Punjab, and Sind in the monsoon. It is found in pairs from April to October, singly during the rest of the year. Its call is very different from that of the Grey Quail, being dissyllabic only. It breeds about June or July in Northern India, from August to October in the Deccan, and lays from 4 to 9 eggs, yellowish white to dark brownish buffi in colour, much speckled with brown, and measuring about 1.09 by .83. The eggs are laid in a hollow on the ground, without any nest.