(1943) Galloperdix lunulata.
THE PAINTED SPUR-FOWL.
Perdix lunulata Valeric, Diet. Sci. Nat., xxxviii, p. 446 (1825) (Bengal): Galloperdix lunulata. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 108.
Vernacular names. Askol (Orissa and Singbhoom); Hootkdh (Gondhi); Cull-koli (Tam.); Jitta-kodi (Tel.),
Description.— Adult male. Crown black, glossed with green and spotted with white, the spots sometimes with black centres; chin dull or buffy-white slightly spotted with black ; rest of head, neck and extreme upper back brownish-black, each feather with a white terminal and glossy black subterminal bar; remaining upper parts and wing-coverts rich chestnut with white, black-edged ocelli, absent or obsolete on the rump and upper tail-coverts; inner wing-coverts with a strong metallic-green gloss and the others with ocelli larger than those on the back ; longer upper tail-coverts and tail brownish-black, the latter with a faint green or purple gloss; under lesser wing-coverts chestnut with black and white bars; greater coverts brown faintly edged with chestnut; breast and upper abdomen bright buff, each feather with a terminal spot of black; flanks chestnut with buffy-white bars enclosed by black ones; lower abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts brownish-chestnut, spotted with small black-edged spots; under tail-coverts black-tipped.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown: bill horny-black, paler on the lower inaudible, gape and base; legs and feet greenish or plumbeous-horny.
Measurements. Wing 144 to 161 mm.; tail 128 to 135 mm.; tarsus 42 to 45 mm.; culmen about 19 mm. Spurs up to 25 or 26 mm., generally two on each leg, sometimes three on one or both. Weight 9 to 10 oz. (Hume).
Female. Crown black with chestnut stripes, the latter occupying most of the forehead; the posterior crown with chestnut tips to the feathers also; broad supercilia chestnut with paler streaks ; ear-coverts deeper chestnut; chin, throat and cheeks pale yellowish-buff, mottled with chestnut; upper parts dark brown, tinged with greyish-olive on the back, scapulars and lower wing-coverts ; upper wing-coverts darker and browner; tail deeper, richer brown, obsoletely rayed with black : breast and upper flanks pale rufescent brown becoming earthy-brown on the abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts.
Measurements. Wing 138 to 159 mm. Weight 8 to 9 oz. (Hume).
Young males resemble the female but are duller; the upper plumage is much freckled and barred with dull black and rufous-brown; below, the colour is a more earthy-brown and much freckled with buff.
Chick in down. Above, light chestnut-rufous, the head and a broad dorsal line darkest; below, dull pale earthy-brown, more chestnut on the throat, breast, thighs and vent.
Distribution. Almost the same as that of G, spadicea. Roughly on the North its boundaries are the Sind, Jumna and Ganges Rivers; westwards it is found as far as the eastern slopes of the coastal ranges, but not on the coasts of Malabar and Travancore. East it extends to the coast wherever the country is suitable.
Nidification. The breeding-season is apparently from February to June, most birds laying in April and early May. They lay their eggs in scrapes made by themselves in any kind of cover and generally protected by a rock, fallen tree or a bush. The normal clutch is three, occasionally two or four and very rarely five. They cannot be distinguished from those of other Spur-Fowl and twenty-five average 40.9 x 29.3 mm.: maxima 42.4 x 28.4 and 42.0 x 31.0 mm.; minima 39.7 X 28.3 and 41.2 x 27.0 mm.
Habits. The Painted Spur-Fowl does not seem to mind much what kind of jungle it frequents but does prefer such as grows in broken rocky country. It is not a bird of high elevations and few are to be found over 3,000 feet. Pitman says that when frightened these birds take to trees but that they are not hard to flush once. When first disturbed they always run up hill and then when forced to fly hurl themselves down the sides of the hill with considerable speed. They feed on all kinds of grain, insects etc. and are very fond of the flowers of the Mowah trees.