1335. Lophura rufa.
Vieillot''s Fire-backed Pheasant.
Phasianus ruf'us, Raffles, Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 321 (1822). Euplocamus ignitus, apud Gray, in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. ii, p. 39 ; Blyth, Cat. p. 243; id. Birds Burm. p. 149; nec Shaw & Nodder. Euplocamus vieillotti, G. R. Gray, List Gen. B. 2nd ed. p. 77 (1841) ; Hume, S. F. v, p. 119 ; id. & Dan. S. F. vi, p. 438 ; id. & Marsh. Game B. i, p. 213, pl.; Hume, Cat. no. 811 quint.; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 320. Euplocamus rufus, Hume, & F. v, p. 121. Lophura rufa, Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 286.
Coloration. Male. Plumage above and below deep metallic violet, except on the lower back, which is fiery metallic red, passing into chestnut on the rump ; the median two pairs of tail-feathers and the tips or inner webs of the next pair, which are white; the feathers of the sides of the breast and the flanks, which have fusiform white shaft-stripes ; and the quills, outer tail-feathers, middle of breast, and abdomen, which are black.
Female. Upper plumage chestnut-rufous, finely vermiculated with black; the head, hind neck, and upper back sometimes not vermiculated; quills and tail-feathers the same, inner webs of quills darker, the rufous mottling disappearing on the first primaries ; chin and throat thinly clad with white feathers ; fore neck and upper breast chestnut, the feathers with narrow white edges, passing into the black feat hers, with white borders all round, of the breast and flanks; abdomen white; vent and under tail-coverts black and dull chestnut mixed. Young males resemble females.
Bill whitish in males, upper mandible dark horny brown, lower horny white in females; irides red; facial skin smalt-blue; legs and feet vermilion-red (Davison).
Length of male about 28; tail 11 ; wing 11.5; tarsus 4.7; bill from gape 1.7. Length of female 23; tail 8 ; wing 10; tarsus 3.6.
Distribution. Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, with the southernmost part of Tenasserim, south of Tenasserim town.
Habits, &c. By Davison this Pheasant was found inhabiting the evergreen forests in parties of five or six, the males sometimes apart. The males make a whirring sound with their wings, but were not heard to crow. On one occasion Davison saw an Argus Pheasant (Argusianus argus) driven from its clearing by a Fire-back. An egg of this species laid by a captive hen in July was coloured pale cafe-au-lait and measured 2.25 by 1.68.
Crossoptilum, which approaches Lophura and its allies, is a very remarkable genus, with the sexes alike in plumage, black or slate-blue and white in colour, with a large tail of 20 to 24 feathers, the extremities of the middle pairs much curved. Two or three species are said to have been obtained in Tibet, but none of these has hitherto been found in the Himalayas, although Surgeon-Major Waddell was informed by Bhoteas that one species, probably G. tibetanum, inhabits some of the passes in Bhutan.