Gennaeus lineatus

Lineated Kalij.

Gennaeus lineatus.

Yit, Burmese.

The lineated kalij, which closely resembles the purple kalij in size, form, and even the habit of erecting and spreading out the crest, is the most westerly of the group of black-breasted, pencilled-backed pheasants which culminate in the well-known silver pheasant of our aviaries, which is a South Chinese bird. It is generally distributed over hilly country in Burma, and is sometimes called the Burmese silver pheasant, or even, as by Hume, by the very awkward name of " vermicellated " pheasant. " Grey-backed kalij " would really be the best name for it, as it is a typical kalij in size and shape, hen-tailed and narrow-crested, while the most striking point about it is the contrast between its delicate grey upper surface and black crest and under-parts. The pure white along the upper half of the centre tail-feathers is also a striking colour-point, and with the scarlet face, goes to make up a singularly handsome, if quiet-looking bird.'

For comparison with other races it should be noted that the grey of the back is not a solid colour, but made up of very fine lencilling of black and white lines, such as is seen on the backs of many of the males of the duck tribe, but very rarely elsewhere ; it is irregular and does not follow the edges of the feathers.

The hen bird is quite like the hens of the white-breasted and purple kalijes in form, and is also brown above, but her under plumage and neck are different, as are also the outer tail-feathers, being variegated, the former with well-marked white streaks, the latter with tranverse pencillings of white on the black ground.

The lineated kalij, like the purple, does not range high up, even 4,000 feet being generally higher than it cares to go, while it has no objection to sea-level if it can get suitable angly cover and ravines or similar declivities. What it especially takes is long grass, bamboos, small trees, and brushwood, on hill- sides ; and it prefers deciduous-leaved trees to evergreen forest. on account of the steepness and treacherous character of much of the ground it frequents, it is often not easy to shoot, and is great runner, though a dog will put it up readily enough.

It has, in fact, the regular kalij habits; it is, for instance, usually found in pairs, though broods may keep together. The cock challenges by whirring with his wings ; the a)arm-note is whistled yit, whence no doubt the native name in Burmese. In rrakanese the name is Rak, in Karen Phugyk, while the Talain name is Synklouk.

It is a mixed feeder, but has a special liking for ants, black as well as white, and for the figs of the peepul; in places where ; can get the succulent shoot of a certain orchid to feed upon ; can do without water for some time, but usually likes to be ear it, drinking at about 10 a.m. In some localities it avoids cultivation altogether, in others it will come freely out into rice yields to obtain grain. It also feeds on young leaves and grass.

One curious habit, observed by Colonel Bingham, is that it often comes into clearings on bright moonlight nights, a most curious trait in a pheasant or any nearly allied bird. Chicks are said to be hard to rear, but the species has often been brought to Europe, and, like the purple, was on view at the London Zoo at the time of writing.

It has hybridized in captivity with the Chinese silver pheasant, the resulting hybrid being practically identical with the doubtful form known as Anderson's silver pheasant (Gennaeus andersoni). Owing also to hybridism in the wild state, both with the purple kalij and silver pheasant, the limits of this bird are hard to fix. Eggs of the lineated kalij may be found from March to May, in a hollow scratched out among dry leaves or scratched in the ground and lined with such leaves, but are generally well hidden. The eggs are seldom more than eight and are of a buff or stone colour with a pinkish tinge.

Indian Sporting Birds
Finn, Frank. Indian Sporting Birds. Edwards, 1915.
Title in Book: 
Gennaeus lineatus
Book Author: 
Frank Finn
Page No: 
Common name: 
Lineated Kalij
Lophura leucomelanos lineata

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