1347. Ithagenes cruentus.
The Blood Pheasant.
Phasianus cruentus, Hardwicke, Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 237(1822), Ithaginis cruentus, Wagl. Isis, 1832, p. 1228; Blyth, Cat. p. 241 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 522; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 71. Ithagenes cruentus, Hume Marsh. Game B. i, p. 155, pl.; Hume, Cat. no. 807 ; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 343; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 268.
The Green Blood Pheasant, Jerdon ; Chilime, Nepal ; Semo, Bhot.; Sa-mong, Lepch.
Coloration. Male. Forehead, lores, and a band above and below each eye black, these two bands often mixed with crimson where they meet behind the eye ; crown buffy white; upper parts from the nape slaty grey, with white shaft-stripes that become broader and black-edged behind, and are tinged with green on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; on most of the median and major wing-coverts, besides the pale shaft-stripe, the terminal portion of each feather is washed with green, and the upper tail-coverts have crimson lateral edges ; quills brown with white shafts, the secondaries with white shaft-stripes and buff edges ; tail-feathers white at the ends, shading into dusky brown with crimson borders towards the base ; chin, throat, and lower cheeks crimson ; fore neck and sides of neck whitish, the feathers black at the base ; breast and abdomen to the thighs apple-green, the colour deepest on the edges of the feathers, a few irregular crimson spots on the upper breast; lower abdomen and flanks like the lower back; under tail-coverts crimson, tipped with greenish white.
Female. Brown, finely vermiculated with black ; lower surface paler, pale-shafted and more rufous; occiput and nape dark slaty grey; forehead, sides of head, chin, and throat brownish rufous ; quills dark brown, only mottled on outer webs of secondaries.
Bill black ; cere, gape, legs, feet, and spurs red; irides brown ; orbital skin scarlet to orange-red.
Length of male about 18; tail 6.75; wing 8.5: tarsus 2.75 ; bill from gape .85. Female smaller : length 17 ; tail 5.75 ; wing 7.6; tarsus 2.5.
Distribution. The higher ranges of the Nepal, Sikhim, and Bhutan Himalayas, at elevations of 10,000 to 14,000 feet. Neither the Eastern nor Western limits of this Pheasant are correctly known, but the range does not extend to Kumaun.
Habits, The Blood Pheasant in Sikhim inhabits pine-forests, and is found about September in small flocks, doubtless families, of 10 to 15 birds, males and females in about equal numbers. It is said by Hooker to feed on the tops of pine and juniper, and the berries of the latter, but those killed by me in September had fed on various leaves, seeds, small fruits, &c, not on conifers. It has a peculiar long call, something like the squeal of a Kite, and also a shorter monosyllabic alarm-note. It is by no means shy and is very averse to flying. Nothing precise is known of the breeding-habits except that Hooker states that he saw the young in May. The spurs appear not to be assumed the first year ; they vary greatly in number. Hooker notices that he has seen as many as 5 on one leg, and 4 on the other. I found these Pheasants fair eating in September, but according to Hooker they have usually a strong flavour of turpentine derived from their food.