(1952) Coturnix coromandelica.
THE BLACK-BREASTED or RAIN-QUAIL.
Tetrao coromandelica Gmelin, Syst. Nut, i, p. 764 (Coromandel Coast). Coturnix coromandelica. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 116.
Vernacular names. Not generally distinguished from the Grey Quail. Additional names are: China Butteya (Upper India); Chanac (Nepal); Kade (Tam.); Chinna Yellichi (Tel.); Ngon (Burma); Chinnung Butter (Lucknow).
Description,—Adult male. Upper plumage, wings and tail the same as in the Common Quail but generally rather richer and deeper in tint; primaries and outer secondaries brown, edged pale-but with no bars; head, chin and throat only differing from the Common Quail in having broad, more jet-black bars and the intervening spaces very pure white; centre of .breast and upper abdomen black; flanks fulvous with broad streaks of velvety-black.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to deep brown; bill black in the breeding-season; horny black and paler at the base in non-breeding and young birds; legs and feet fleshy or fleshy-grey, more pink in the breeding-season.
Measurements. Wing 83 to 92 mm.; tail 30 to 32 mm.; tarsus 25 to 26 mm.; culmen about 13 mm.
Female. Generally rather more richly coloured but otherwise only distinguishable by its smaller size.
Distribution. Practically throughout Ceylon, where it is rare, India and Burma to the Shan States. Obtained at Simla, 7,000 ft., by Dodsworth.
Nidification. The Bain-Quail breeds, as its name infers, after the break of the rains from June to October, though a few birds lay also in the mouth of April and early May. The nesting is like that of the Common Quail, though this bird occasionally selects a site in the scrub or, on the other hand, sometimes right in open fields under cover of a cactus-hedge or bush. The eggs only differ from those of the Common Quail in being much smaller and require no further description. One hundred and twenty eggs average 27.4 x 20.8 mm.: maxima 30.8 x 22.4 mm.; minima 25.2 x 20.8 and 26.9 x 19.2 mm.
The clutches run smaller than those of other species of Coturnix, four are frequently incubated whilst six to eight is the average, though they run up to eleven.
This genus is monogamous.
Habits. The Quail has generally been considered locally migratory but, if so, the migrations must be very local, possibly only movements from the driest areas with no cover to adjacent areas with some bush or other form of jungle in which the birds can seek protection from the sun in the hottest driest months. In every way this little Quail resembles the Common Quail, but its note is a musical " whit-whit-whit-whit," constantly repeated.