(1981) Francolinus pintadeanus phayrei.
PHAYRE'S BURMESE FRANCOLIN.
Perdix phayrei Blyth, J. A. S. B., xii, p. 1011 (1843) (Arakan). Francolinus chinensis. Blanf. & Oates, vi, p. 138.
Vernacular names. Kha (Burm.); Kabaw urengbi (Manipur); Chay koo (Chinese) ; Nok-katah (Siam).
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, lores, supercilium and round the eye black; ear-coverts, cheeks and below the lores white; crown and nape fulvous-buff, the central portions marked with black in varying degree; neck and back with longitudinal white streaks, gradually changing to oval spots on the back; lower back, rump, upper tail-coverts and central tail-feathers black with narrow wavy white bars; outermost tail-feathers blackish-brown with white bars on the basal halves of the outer webs; scapulars and shoulder-coverts chestnut with a certain amount of black marking and with bold white ocelli; remaining coverts brown with white ocelli; quills brown with white bars and innermost secondaries like the scapulars; moustachial streak black; chin, throat and fore-neck white or creamy-white; neck and breast black, with white ocelli on either web near the tips of each feather; lower breast the same but with the two spots merging into one or merely divided by the black shaft; posterior blanks barred brownish-black and white, or black and pale fulvous ; centre of abdomen and vent pale fulvous or fulvous-white; under tail-coverts rufous-buff.
The range of variation in colour is great but appears to be purely individual. The amount of chestnut varies greatly in extent and some birds are much blacker than others.
Colours of soft parts. Iris reddish-brown to dark brown; bill black, the lower mandible horny at the base; eyelids dull greenish or livid-green ; legs orange-yellow to yellowish or reddish-brown, much brighter in the breeding-season than at other times.
Measurements. Wing 132 to 151, average 144.6 mm.; tail about 60 to 70 mm.; tarsus about 42 to 44 mm.; culmen 23 to 25 mm. Weight 10 to 14 oz.
Female. Head like that of the male but duller, the white replaced by dull rufous-white ; upper back blackish with small white ocelli and pale brown edges to ail the feathers ; lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts blackish with narrow rufous-white or rufous bars and profuse brown freckling; on the upper tail-coverts this freckling extends to the whole feather except on the pale bases with their dark bars ; below white, changing to pale rufous-fulvous on flanks, vent and abdomen with bars of blackish-brown, numerous on the fore-neck and upper breast and decreasing towards the abdomen and thigh-coverts; chin and throat sometimes sparsely speckled with black.
Colours of soft parts. Legs paler and more yellow than in the male.
Measurements. Wing 137 to 146 mm.
Young birds are like the females but duller; there are central pale streaks to the feathers of the neck, back and scapulars ; the eye-streak and moustachial streak are absent or obsolete.
Distribution. Manipur, Arakan, Pegu, the whole of Eastern Burma, Shan States, Yunnan and the Indo-Chinese countries. Hainan birds are quite as small as the Burmese and belong to this race and not the typical Chinese form.
Nidification. In Pegu and Lower Burma Hopwood and Mackenzie took eggs during March and April but in Northern Burma, though the former took one nest with eggs in Popa on the 14th March, the normal breeding-months seem to be July to September. The nest is the usual scrape, lined or unlined, in grass, scrub- or bamboo-jungle, the latter far more often than with the Black or Painted Partridges. The eggs number three to six, rarely up to eight and in colour vary from pale yellowish-buff to a warm buff cafe-au-lait, never as dark as in the darker eggs of the Black Partridge. A few eggs have a faint olive tinge but such are the exceptions, not the rule, with this species. Sixty eggs average 35.3 x 29.2 mm.: maxima 40.6 x 28.3 and 38.2 x 30.5 mm.; minima 31.8 x 27.6 and 38.1 x 26.7 mm.
Habits. The Burmese Francolin keeps to the drier areas, frequenting scrub, grass-lands and bamboo-jungle and sometimes also being found in light deciduous forest. It is especially fond of partly-cultivated tracts with plenty of scrub and light tree-jungle intersecting the patches of crops. Except just after the breeding-season, they keep either single or in pairs and are decidedly difficult to flush, though once on the wing they fly strongly and afford good sporting shots. Their call is of the same character as those of the Black and Painted Partridges and has been syllabified as "kai-kai, kee-kai, kee-kurr." Their food is the same as that of other Francolins and all the genus are quite good birds for the table.
* Tetrao chinensis Forster, 1771, is preoccupied by Linnaeus's Tetrao chinensis of 1766, and cannot therefore be employed as the name of the Chinese Francolin. Tetrao pintadeanus, 1786, is the next name available.