Francolinus vulgaris, Step.
818. :- Jerdbn's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 558; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 5; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 213 ; Game Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 9.
THE BLACK PARTRIDGE.
Kala Titar, Hin.
Length, 12.25 to 14.8; expanse, 18.5 to 21.5; wing, 5.7 to 6.7; tail, 3.38 to 4.4 ; tarsus, 1.5 to 2; bill from gape, 0.9 to 1.25 ; weight, 8 to 20 oz.
Bill, black, , horny-brown, the tips of both paler; irides deep brown ; legs yellowish or reddish-brown.
Head, cheeks, and throat, deep black; the top of the head and nape edged with rufous, and with some white spots on the sides of the occiput, forming a pale line ; ear-coverts pure white ; a broad collar of fine chesnut-red passes round the whole neck ; upper part of the back black, feathers edged with rufous and white tipped ; the middle and lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts finely barred black, and whitish, or grey ; wings with the coverts black, with broad bay or rufous edges, and the quills barred with rufous and black ; tail black, the middle feathers barred with black and grey on the upper parts, the lateral feathers being similarly barred at their base only; plumage beneath, from the rufous collar, deep black, more or less banded on the lower part of the abdomen with white, and the. flanks of the breast and abdomen spotted with white ; thigh-coverts and under tail-coverts chesnut.
The female differs in wanting the black head and neck of the male, which is more or less rufous mixed with brown, the throat and sides of the neck being white, and a dusky band surrounds the white portion of the ear-coverts ; the back and wings are dusky, with pale rufous edges, whitish on the wing ; the back, rump, and upper tail-coverts are barred pale rufous and dark brown ; the tail feathers blackish, with pale bands ; the medial pair brown banded ; beneath, from the throat, the plumage is white with black spots, longitudinal and arrow-shaped in front, becoming more transverse on the flanks and lower abdomen.
The Black Partridge is very rare in Northern Guzerat; further north it is more frequently met with, and in Sind it is a common permanent resident, breeding during June and July.
The nest, composed of grass, grass roots, &c, is usually untidily put together, but occasionally is more neater. The eggs, six to ten in number, vary greatly in size, but average 1.56 inches in length to about 1.28 in breadth. In-color they vary from slightly greenish or brownish-fawn to stone color.