(1923) Gennaeus lineatus lineatus.
THE BURMESE SILVER PHEASANT.
Phasianus lineatus Vigors, P. Z. S., 1831, p. 24 (Straits of Malacca). Gennaeus lineatus. Blanf. & Oates. iv, p. 92.
Vernacular names. Yit, Kayit (Burma); Rak (Arrakan); Pynklouk (Talain); Phugyk (Karen).
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, crown and crest black glossed with blue-green or purple-blue; whole of the upper plumage and exposed wings silver-grey in appearance, palest on the neck and longest tail-coverts, darkest on the wing-quills and greater coverts; the silver-grey tint is formed by innumerable very fine wavy lines of white and black; the primaries are brown with wavy lines of bun2 or pale brown on both webs, the lines gradually changing into black and white on the inner secondaries ; outer tail-feathers black with fine longitudinal lines of white or pale bun:; each succeeding pair has more white and less black until the central pair, or two pairs, are more or less immaculate white over their terminal two-thirds; below black, the neck, breast and flanks more or less glossed with bluish-purple and the sides having white centres to the feathers; the flanks often vermiculated velvety-black.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellow-brown to dark brown; facial bare skin crimson ; bill greenish or yellowish-horny, darker at the base and on the culmen ; legs and feet greenish-plumbeous, slate-grey or greenish-brown.
Measurements. Wing 218 to 261 mm.; tail 228 to 345 mm.; tarsus about 76 to 88 mm.; culmen about 28 to 30 mm.; crest up to 80 mm.
Female. Whole upper plumage golden-bun: vermiculated with tiny bars of black or deep brown, giving a general golden-brown appearance, sometimes tinged with rufous ; crest rather darker than elsewhere ; neck and upper back with V-shaped marks white bordered with black; primaries and outer secondaries dark brown on the inner webs; two pairs of central tail-feathers buff with narrow bars of black running diagonally across but often absent on the terminal half of the central pair on the inner webs; outer tail-feathers rich chestnut with broad irregular bars of white, bordered, and sometimes spotted, with black; the feathers next the central pair are mottled with buff near the tips, this mottling decreasing outwardly; chin and throat smoky-buff changing to rich pale rufous on the breast and flanks, where there are lanceolate streaks of white edged with black and with more or less black and rufous mottlings next the shafts; abdomen and vent dull rufous-buff with a little white mottling; under tail-coverts dark rich rufous with white, black-edged streaks.
Colours of soft parts. Iris amber to wood-brown; facial skin dull crimson; bill and legs as in the male.
Measurements. Wing 203 to 234 mm.
Chick in down. Head above rufous, forehead and above eyes paler; a rich chestnut line from the eye over the ear-coverts; above rufous-brown, darkest along the back, paler on the sides; below dull buffy-white with faint indications of a chestnut collar on the sides of the breast.
Distribution. Extreme South and East of the Arrakan Yomas ; North to Thoungyi or about up to 20° Wrest of the Sittang River but only as far as Thaungoo and Kolidoo on the East of that river and that only in the lower hills near the river. South it crosses the Sittang and has been recorded from Teh as far South as 12°, though it is not certain that this is the same subspecies. It, however, occurs in South-West Peninsular Siam and in Tenasserim South of Tavoy. In the North it apparently passes through the lower valleys past Port Stedman as far East as Kongtong, whence I have seen quite typical specimens.
Nidification. This Silver Pheasant breeds from early March to the end of April so far as is known at present, laying six to eight eggs in slight hollows scraped in fallen debris. Most generally the site selected is one in bamboo-jungle, either of the clump or single growing variety, or less often in scrub-jungle. No one yet seems to have obtained its nest in deep green forest and it is probably only a casual visitor to country of that character. In colour the eggs vary from a very pale buff to a deep buff-brown and in shape and texture are like those of other birds of this genus. Thirty eggs average 47.7 x 36.9 mm.: maxima 50.2 x 36.7 and 48.2 X 38.2 mm.; minima 44.1 x 35.9 and 47.1 x 35.5 mm. They are not polygamous in a natural state and apparently less pugnacious than most of their tribe.
Habits. This Pheasant frequents bamboo-jungle in preference to all others but is also found in scrub, secondary growth and in thin deciduous forest with a little undergrowth. Like all its kin it is a shy retiring bird, running rather than flying, though flying well when forced to do so. It is a Pheasant of the middle elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 feet but is found down to the foot-hills and up to 6,000 feet, haunting rocky and broken ground, ravines etc. rather than the more rolling hills. Like all other birds of this genus the males have the power of puffing out or inflating their wattles and this is invariably done during courting displays or when angered, the inflation of the wattles being generally accompanied by the usual low guttural conversational notes, more loudly repeated. It feeds in the open in the mornings and evenings, keeping under cover during the hotter hours.