Galloperdix lunulatus


Galloperdix lunulatus.

Askal, Orissa.

The white-spotted cock of the painted spur-fowl is a very pretty and distinct-looking bird, as far as the plumage goes, but the absence of the bright red colouring of the bill and feet, which are dull blackish, and the very faint indication of red round the eye, make the dull, plain, brown hen a very ordinary looking creature; her only noticeable point of colour is the chestnut face.

The ground-colour of the cock's plumage is chestnut above for the most part, but the crown and shoulders are glossy green-black ; on the buff breast the spots are black instead of white, and the head and neck are all black and white.

The Askal is generally seen when rocky hills are being beaten for big game, such places being its usual resorts, but they must have plenty of vegetable cover as well as stones. Even when thus forced out, the birds will only fly once, going to ground among the boulders when they have had one flight; on the wing they look much like jungle-fowls and, unlike the last species, do not drop readily to a shot; they resemble it, however, in their speed of foot.

This also is a very local bird, and although its area of habitat is much the same as that of the red spur-fowl, it is not found in the north-west, while it extends east to Bengal, and is wanting on the coast of Malabar. Moreover, in localities where the red spur-fowl is found this species is generally wanting, and vice versa, so that on the whole their distribution does not coincide nearly so much as might be imagined from the consideration of their range as a whole. The choice of station, too, is somewhat different in the two species, since, though both love hills and thick cover, the present one is more distinctively and exclusively a rock-haunter. The call is said to be a peculiar loud chur, chur, chur, anything but fowl-like, but Jerdon, in speaking of the " fine cackling sort of call, very fowl-like," attributes this to the males, so that no doubt the challenge and alarm-notes are, as one would expect, quite different. Not only is the bird very shy and hard to get, but it is not so succulent and gamey in character of flesh as the red spur-fowl. The cocks have been found in confinement to be very pugnacious, and their black legs are as well provided with spurs as are the red ones of the other species; hens also are usually armed in the same way, with a pair of spurs or a single one.

The five eggs, which may be found as early as March or as late as June, are laid on the ground ; they are buff in colour. In spite of their natural shyness, the old birds show great boldness when accompanying chicks; they will try to draw away pursuit by artifice, and if a chick be captured will come within a few yards.

This species is well distinguished by names ; though in Telugu it shares the name Jitta-kodi with the last, it is called Kul koli in Tamil, while the Gond name is Hutka and the Uriya Kainjer.

Indian Sporting Birds
Finn, Frank. Indian Sporting Birds. Edwards, 1915.
Title in Book: 
Galloperdix lunulatus
Book Author: 
Frank Finn
Page No: 
Common name: 
Painted Spue Fowl
Painted Spurfowl
Galloperdix lunulata

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