(1920) Gennaeus melanotus.
THE BLACK-BACKED KALIJ PHEASANT.
Euplocamus melanotus (Blyth) Hutton, J. A.S. B., xvii, p. 694 (1848) (Darjeeling). Gennaeus melanonotus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 91.
Vernacular names. Kar-Rhyah (Lepcha).
Description.— Adult male. Whole upper plumage black, glossed with deep violet-blue, green in some lights and purple in others, each feather edged with velvety unglossed black; all the feathers have white shafts, conspicuous on the scapulars and upper back but concealed elsewhere; wing-quills brown, the inner secondaries glossed with blue-green or green ; chin and throat blackish-brown, paling towards the breast; the long lanceolate feathers of the breast white with brown bases, the white decreasing in extent towards the abdomen and flanks; centre of abdomen and vent brown; under tail-coverts and thighs blackish-brown.
Some males Lave narrow white edges to some of the scapulars and inter-scapulars; the extent of white on the lower plumage also varies much.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel-brown to orange-brown ; facial skin bright red to crimson; bill yellowish or greenish-horny, blacker at the base, paler at the tip ; legs and feet horny, slaty or greenish-brown, soles paler.
Measurements. Wing 216 to 241 mm.; tail 238 to 312 mm.; tarsus 78 to 83 mm.; culmen 28 to 32 mm.; crest up to 76 mm. Weight 2 lb. 6 oz. to 2 lb. 12 oz.
Female. Only differs from the female of G. leucomelanus in having the nape a less bright chestnut than the crest and upper back ; it has the tail-feathers more chestnut than in G. albocristatus and is perhaps rather darker than that bird.
Measurements. Wing 195 to 223 mm. Weight lib. 14 oz. to 2 lb. 4 oz.
Distribution. Sikkim, West into Nepal, probably to the Arun River, East to Bhutan.
Nidification. This Pheasant breeds freely in Sikkim from 2,000 to 8,000 feet and is common round many of the Tea Estates,, breeding actually among the Tea-bushes or in the scrub and forest adjoining. The eggs number six to ten and are of the usual character. Hume gives the average of " a large series" as 48.5 x 36.3 mm.
The breeding-season lasts from the end of April to early June, birds below 2,000 feet breeding a month earlier than this, those above 5,000 feet a month later.
Habits. Similar to those of the other species. Stevens says that in common with other Kalij Pheasants this bird prefers jungle in close proximity to running water.