Gennaeus leucomelanus

Nepal Kalij.

Gennaeus leucomelanus.

Rechabo, Bhutia.

It is not at all surprising that this species in Hindustani simply shares the name of Kalij with the common white-crested bird, for except that the present bird has a black crest, not quite so long and therefore not drooping, the two are practically alike, blue-black above and dirty-white below, with the rump transversely barred with pure white. The kalij of Nepal, however, which is not found elsewhere, and is at any rate, except, perhaps, on the extreme eastern and western ends of that kingdom, the only kind found there, is not quite so rusty-looking above as the white-crested, nor so stout and pale in the leg, nor is it quite so large in most cases.

The hen is a brown, narrow-crested, hen-tailed bird like the white-crested kalij hen, but it is slightly darker, with a shorter crest, which does not show the greyish tinge found in the crest of the hen of the other species; but the hen kalijes of this type can hardly be separated with any readiness or certainty, at any rate by a beginner. The young cock, gets his full plumage during his first year, when about five months old; three months old chicks are brown with some black bars above.

The Nepal kalij is much the commonest of the pheasants of its native state ; it is strictly a hill bird, with a rather limited vertical range, never going down to the Tarai region, and rarely ascending over 9,000 feet. It keeps to thick forest and is a great percher, not only roosting on trees, but being commonly met with perched in them as one makes one's way through forest, according to Dr. Scully. It may be, however, that the birds seen so much aloft have simply " treed " through alarm in many cases. When approached, Dr. Scully says, they fly rapidly down and run off. He found the best plan to shoot them was to wait, in winter, when the birds come down to the foot of the hills near the trees to which they resort to roost, though occasionally a shot could be got at one as it crossed a path. He found the birds stood captivity well, and he reared chicks to maturity, which conflicts with what others say about the difficulty of keeping the pheasants of this group. But in these matters a great deal must be allowed for skill, and Dr. Scully, as a medical man, would naturally bring more intelligence to his task than the ordinary "man in the street" who is generally a hopeless bungler with live stock, even if he is interested in them from a sporting or natural history point of view, unless he has had some experience with tame things.

The birds usually go in pairs or small parties up to ten in number. All that is known about the breeding is that a chick so young as to measure only two inches in the closed wing, is recorded by Scully as captured in June ; it was rufous brown on the head and dirty buff below, with no stripes apparently.

Indian Sporting Birds
Finn, Frank. Indian Sporting Birds. Edwards, 1915.
Title in Book: 
Gennaeus leucomelanus
Book Author: 
Frank Finn
Page No: 
Common name: 
Nepal Kalij
Kalij Pheasant
Lophura leucomelanos

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