46. THE PAINTED SPUR-FOWL.
Galloperdix hunulata, (Valenciennes).
Tail entirely black.
Space in front of the eye feathered.
MALE :—Upper plumage chestnut, spotted with white.
FEMALE :—Upper plumage plain olive-brown.
Vernacular Names -.—Askol, Orissa and Singhboom; Hootkah, Chanda District; Cull-Koli, Tamil; Jitta-Kodi, Telugu.
The Painted Spur-Fowl appears to be locally distributed over a considerable portion of the Indian peninsula. According to Messrs. Hume and Marshall, the northern limit of this species is a line formed by the Ganges, Jumna and Sind rivers. Its western limit is not so easily defined : all I can gather about it is that this Spur-Fowl has been obtained at Ellichpur and also near Belgaum. To the south, the Painted Spur-Fowl occurs in suitable localities as far as the 11th Spur-Fowl.
degree of north latitude. To the east this bird extends to the sea-coast from Cuttack to Pondicherry, wherever there is hilly ground.
Dr. Jerdon has the following note on this species :—" This handsome Spur-fowl is especially partial to rocky jungles and tangled coverts, and is a very difficult bird to flush, taking a short and rapid flight and diving down into some impenetrable thicket. I have often seen it running rapidly across rocks when the jungles were being beaten for large game. From the difficulty of procuring this bird, it is not well known to sportsmen in general, even in districts where it is not rare. . . . The males have a fine cackling sort of call, very fowl-like."
The nest of the Painted Spur-fowl is simply a hollow in the ground under shelter of a rock in a thicket. The breeding season extends from March to June. The eggs do not appear to exceed five. They are pale buff with some gloss, and they measure from 1.55 to 1.65 in length and from 1.07 to 1.15 in breadth.
In the male the crown of the head is black spotted with white. The mantle, back, and all the wing-coverts are rich chestnut with white black-edged spots. - Many of the feathers of the wing have a metallic green gloss. The rump and the tail-coverts are rich chestnut, all the feathers with small white marks and blackish tips. The longer tail-coverts are dark chocolate-brown or blackish. The tail is entirely black. The first ten quills of the wing are plain brown. The throat, foreneck and sides of the neck are black, barred with white. The breast and the upper belly are buff, spotted with black. The sides of the body are chestnut, each feather with a black tip divided into two parts by a white bar. The lower belly is dull chestnut with a few dull white bars, and the feathers under the tail are mixed black and chestnut.
The female has the crown black with a few narrow chestnut streaks. The whole upper plumage is dark olive-brown and the tail black. All the feathers of the wing are very dark brown, but this colour is almost entirely concealed by the broad olive-brown fringes to the feathers. A stripe over the eye is chestnut mottled with black, the cheeks are buff, and the throat mixed chestnut and buff. The foreneck and chest are a dull olive-brown with black tips to the feathers. The breast and the upper belly are clear buff with .black marks; and the lower belly with the feathers under the tail are a dull smoky brown.
Length of male about 13 ; wing about 6; tail nearly 5. The female is rather smaller. Legs plumbeous ; irides brown; bill horn-colour. Weight up to 10 oz.