Galloperdix spadiceus, Gmelin.
814. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 541; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 5 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 422; Game Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 247; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 131.
THE RED SPUR FOWL.
Length, 13 to 15 ; expanse, 17 to 20 ; wing, 5.62 to 6.75 ; tail, 4.5 to 6 ; tarsus, 1.6 to 1.75 ; bill from gape, 1 to 1.2 ; weight, 9 to 14 oz.
Bill dusky-red, homy at tip; irides from dull yellow to dusky-brown ; legs and feet always red but vary in shade, from vermilion-red to dull pink.
Male, head and nape dusky olive-brown; the forehead and round the eye pale whity-brown, somewhat buff in some individuals ; chin, throat, and sides of neck, pale brown; the rest of the body, both above and below, rich brown-chesnut or bay, each feather pale edged; primaries brown; the secondaries and tertiaries more or less minutely mottled; tail with the central feathers chesnut, the others dark brown, more or less mottled, this disappearing with age ; lower abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts, olivaceous.
The female has the crown dusky-blackish, the neck olive-brown, and the rest of the upper plumage pale rufous-brown, each feather with two or three blackish bands, and minutely speckled, and the tip pale; the rump and upper tail-coverts are minutely freckled; the tail mostly blackish, with mottled rufous bars, tending to become obsolete; primaries, their coverts, and the winglet, spotless dusky-brown; throat albescent; neck olive-brown, the feathers becoming rufous in the centre, and tipped with black; breast and flanks bright ferruginous, with narrow black tips; belly dusky-brown; under tail-coverts freckled rufous-brown.
The male bird has usually two spurs on each leg, sometimes three on one, and occasionally two on one leg and one on another, usually long and sharp. The hen-bird generally has one on each leg, sometimes absent on one leg; and occasionally two on one leg and one on the other.
The Red Spur Fowl is a permanent resident on the Sahyadri Range, and in the forests adjoining; it is also very common at Aboo.
Since the above was written I found it very abundant at Baroli near Neemuch, extending at least as far as Erinpoora, where I have myself obtained it. It breeds during the hot season, making a slight nest of leaves and grass on the ground, almost exclusively in dense bamboo clumps. The eggs, six to eight in number, vary in shape, but are typically the same shape as those of the common hen.
They also vary in color from pinkish-buff to creamy-white, They measure 1.65 inches by 1.21.