It is not only in appearance that the spur-fowls are like jungle-fowl, but in distribution, there being two in India and one in Ceylon, while there is a curious coincidence in colour, the most northern and southern species of the jungle-fowl having red plumage, while in the spur-fowl it is the red species, which alone is found in Northern India, and the present southern¬ most one, which have the red legs and conspicuous red skin round the eyes.
As to plumage the cock of this bird is not unlike a richly coloured edition of the hen of the grey jungle-fowl, having the neck and flanks white with black edgings to the feathers, these edgings failing on the breast; the back shows the characteristic spur-fowl chestnut. The brown plumage of the hen is rendered distinctive by the contrast of the red eye patch and extremities, otherwise she is more like the hen of the painted than of the red species— another coincidence with the jungle-fowl, in which it will be remembered the hen of the Ceylon species is more like the grey than the red jungle-fowl hen. The white spots on the cock's wings also recall the markings of the painted spur-fowl.
The Ceylon spur-fowl makes itself well known wherever found by its cackling call, the notes being on an ascending scale, and beginning at about 6 o'clock in the morning; but as it is a decided ventriloquist, very swift-footed, and an adept at taking cover, hearing it is one thing and getting a shot at it another. It especially affects hills, but must always have cover, and hence its absence from the north of the island is not surprising, as the jungle there is too open for its tastes. In many places it is quite abundant, and is always found in small coveys, which, as Legge suggests, are no doubt families. The cock calls a scattered covey together by a pipe like a turkey-chick's, which changes to a louder whistle as the birds get an answer or become more confident. The cocks are very quarrelsome with each other, and, as in the other species, have several spurs, while the hens are also spurred as a rule.
Layard considered this bird very good eating, and much resembling grouse ; it weighs about twelve ounces if a cock, but the hens are about three ounces lighter. The four creamy eggs have been found in February, May, July, and October; they are laid on the ground in forest.