73. THE NORTH-ARRAKAN SILYER-PHEASANT.
Gennceus cuvieri, (Temminck).
MALE :—The upper plumage black, minutely vermiculated with pale buff; the feathers of the rump with a white fringe, preceded by a firm, broad, black band; the outer three pairs of tail-feathers black.
FEMALE :—The middle pair of tail-feathers dull chestnut, the others progressively with an increasing amount of black and a decreasing amount of chestnut, the two colours blending; the outermost feather almost entirely black.
Vernacular Name:—Yit, Burmese.
It is with some hesitation that I admit this species into my work.
In the British Museum there are three Silver-Pheasants which are labelled G. cuvieri. These birds were at one time living in the Zoological Gardens of London, and their skins came to the Museum about 1867. It is not easy to trace the history of menagerie birds which died thirty or more years ago; but there seems reason to believe that these three specimens came from Arrakan.
Of these birds, one, in my opinion, clearly belongs to our next species, the South-Arrakan Silver-Pheasant. The other two may, I think, represent the Silver-Pheasant of Northern Arrakan, for they are quite distinct from any other Burmese species; and we know of no bird of this group from the large tract of country termed Northern Arrakan. A distinct species of Silver-Pheasant may very well be expected to occur in this part of Burma, and by admitting these birds into my list I am in hopes that sportsmen may assist in clearing up the matter.
On the assumption, therefore, that our two birds, a male and a female, represent the North-Arrakan species, I shall proceed to describe them :—
The male has the crest glossy black. The whole upper plumage and the visible portions of the closed wings are glossy bluish black with very fine, numerous, pale buff vermiculations, more or less across the shaft. These vermiculations are so fine that they may be said to consist of a series of minute dots. Each feather of the rump and lower back has a broad white fringe and a preceding firm, broad, black band occupying the space between the fringe and the first vermiculation. The tail is black with very narrow, oblique, pale buff lines, these lines progressively decreasing in number and extent, the three outer pairs of feathers being practically black. The whole lower plumage is a glossy black.
The female has the upper plumage and wings reddish brown, each feather edged paler and some of the small feathers of the wing edged with whitish. The two middle tail-feathers are chestnut stippled with black, the others with a progressively decreasing amount of chestnut and an increasing amount of black, the outermost feather being almost entirely black.
Length of the male about 23 ; wing 8 1/2; tail 10. Length of the female about 21; wing 8; tail 8. The legs are brown or dark flesh-colour, and the skin of the face crimson.