(1930) Crossoptilon harmani.
ELWES'S HORNED PHEASANT.
Crossoptilon harmani Elwes, Ibis, 1881. p. 399, pl. xiii (Eastern Tibet).
Vernacular names. Cha-nga (Tibet).
Description. Crown of head from forehead to nape velvety black; chin, throat, extreme fore-neck, ear-coverts and across the nape white ; above deep ashy-grey, almost black on the neck; rump and upper tail-coverts much paler ashy-grey; wing-quills brown, the remainder of the visible wing like the back, the inner secondaries slightly glossed with purple-blue; sides of the neck and breast deep glossy ashy-grey changing to paler ashy-grey on the flanks and lower breast and to white down the centre of the fore-neck and centre of the abdomen; the tail is metallic blue-black, glossed with green and blue, the middle tail-feathers changing to purplish-grey at their bases.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown to orange-brown; bill light reddish-horny, legs scarlet, naked skin of face scarlet.
Measurements. Wing 292 to 231 mm.; tail 457 to 559 mm.; tarsus 87 to 93 mm.; culmen about 40 to 44 mm. The spur is short, about 15 to 20 mm.
Chick, about 14 days old. Crown velvety-black; upper plumage dull black changing to dark ashy-grey on the rump and upper tail-coverts; the wings are vermiculated with reddish bars and the coverts have broad reddish shaft-streaks white on the head as in the adult, the ear-tufts showing distinctly ; upper breast and flanks black, the feathers centred and edged fulvous; lower breast and abdomen dirty white, vent and under tail-coverts dull ashy-grey tipped with white ; tail-feathers blue-black glossed with blue, showing green in some lights.
"Iris brown; bill horn-coloured, paler below; legs reddish-brown " (Bailey).
Distribution. Abor and Mishmi Hills, North of Assam and South-East Tibet. Probably common on all the higher ranges of the watershed of the Brahmapootra.
Nidification. Nothing recorded. I have four eggs taken in the Abor Hills on the 26th of May which are those of a Crossoptilon and must be of this species. They are the usual grey-green colour of all Crossoptilon eggs and have the normal soft smooth texture without any real gloss. They measure 58.5 x 41.6, 56.2 X 41.7, 58.4 X 41.6 and 56.7 x 42.0 mm. They were taken at an elevation of some 11,000 .or 12,000 feet, laid on the ground in deep forest. Bailey's chick, described above, was about 14 days old on the 16th July ; he saw another well-grown young one on the 24th August and broods of freshly-hatched young on the 18th July, so that presumably May and June are the months in which the eggs are laid.
Habits. This Pheasant is apparently found between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, less often as low as 8,500, whilst the type-skin came from a place recorded as " about 6,000 feet." They frequent forest and at the higher elevations dwarf rhododendron, moving about in small flocks of five to ten individuals, feeding in the open glades and on the hill-sides outside forest. They are noisy birds with a loud whistling call, uttered most often in the mornings and evenings. When disturbed they usually fly into a tree and their ordinary flight is said to be heavy and by preference always down hill.
Bailey found both cock and hen looking after the young, so they are not polygamous.