56. SCLATER'S MOONAL-PHEASANT.
Chalcophasis sclateri, (Jerdon).
MALE :—Tail chestnut, broadly tipped with white.
FEMALE :—Tail black with narrow wavy creamy-white bars and tipped with the same for the space of about one inch.
Vernacular Names :—None known
Nothing is known about Sclater's Moonal-Pheasant except that it inhabits the Mishmi Hills which are situated in the extreme eastern part of Assam, beyond Sadiya.
About 1870, when Dr. Jerdon was in Assam, he observed a live male bird of this species in the possession of Major Montagu. This specimen was eventually sent to the Zoological Gardens of London, and on its death the skin was deposited in the British Museum.
Subsequently Colonel Godwin-Austen procured the skin of a female bird of this species also from the Mishmi Hills, and Mr. Hume a skin of a male from the same locality, and these two specimens are in the National Collection.
It is very probable that this fine species may be found to occur in some of the mountains north and east of Myitkyina in Upper Burma.
The male has the short curly feathers of the crown rich metallic blue. The back and sides of the neck are copper-colour. The mantle and the greater part of the visible portions of the closed wings are a rich metallic purple, and a large patch near the bend of the wing is metallic green or bronze. The back, rump and the tail-coverts are white with some of the shafts black. The tail is chestnut with a broad white tip, the base of the feathers black with narrow wavy white bars. The lower plumage is black with a slight gloss in places.
The female has the crown, the sides of the head and the whole neck blackish, each feather with a triangular rufous mark. The mantle, the back and the visible portions of the closed wings are blackish mottled with rufous, and each feather has a long, narrow, jagged, rufous streak down the middle. The rump and the tail-coverts are pale creamy buff narrowly and irregularly barred with black. The tail is black mottled with rufous, narrowly barred with creamy white and tipped with a broad band of the same colour. The first ten quills of the wing are dark brown. The throat is white and the lower plumage umber brown finely vermiculated with buff and with the shafts of some of the feathers paler.
Length of male about 26; wing about 12 ; tail about 9. Length of female about 24; wing about 10 1/2; tail about 8. In the male, the naked skin on the sides of the head is blue; irides brown, legs brown; bill yellowish horny.