70. THE BLACK-BREASTED KALIJ-PHEASANT.
Gennceus horsfieldi, (Gray).
MALE :—No portion of the upper plumage vermiculated with white ; crest black; back and rump with broad white fringes ; the entire lower plumage black.
FEMALE:—Undistinguishable from the female of the previous three species.
Vernacular Names :—Do-reek, Assam ; Durug, Dirrik, Garo Hills ; Mathura, Sylhet and Chittagong ; Yit, Burmese.
The Black-breasted Kalij-Pheasant occurs in Eastern Bhutan and throughout the lower ranges of the Himalayas up to Sadiya in Assam. South of the Bhramaputra this Pheasant is found in all the hill ranges of Assam, extending on the west through Sylhet and Tipperah to Chittagong, throughout which province it appears to be commonly found. To the east, Mr. Hume met with this bird in Manipur. Still farther east I observed it at Pyimbone in Upper Burma, about fifty miles N.E. of Katha; and my men many years ago obtained a pair of this Pheasant in the neighbourhood of Bhamo. I cannot trace this bird any farther east or south. There is no evidence that this species occurs in Arrakan.
This Pheasant is usually found low down, and probably does not ascend the hills above 4000 feet elevation.
The habits of the Black-breasted Kalij are not likely to differ from those of its allies. On the one occasion when I had the opportunity of observing it, I found it abundant in the immediate vicinity of a Burmese village. When a beat was organised, fully a dozen birds came out, but they ran about through the bushes and refused to rise. Subsequently in the evening I observed several pairs feeding in the fields on the edge of thick jungle; but they were then very cautious, and retreated up the hill-side at once when I tried to approach them.
This Pheasant breeds from March to June, the eggs being laid on a layer of leaves in a hollow of the ground at the foot of a tree or some similar shelter. Eight or ten is probably the full number of eggs laid. Their colour is buff, and they measure about 1.85 by 1.5.
The male bird has the whole plumage glossy black with glossy blue margins to most of the feathers, and each feather of the back and rump with a terminal white fringe about one-fifth of an inch in width. The plumage is not lanceolate as in the preceding three species.
The female is undistinguishable from the female White-crested Kalij-Pheasant.
In size this Pheasant does not differ from its allies already noticed, but it seems to be a heavier bird, Mr. Hume giving the maximum weight as 2 3/4 lb.