(1954) Perdicula asiatica argoondah.
THE BOOK BUSH-QUAIL.
Coturnix argoondah Sykes, P. Z. S., 1832, p. 153 (Deccan). Perdicula argoondah. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 119.
Vernacular names. Lowa (Hind, and Mahr,); Lawunka (Tel.) ; Sinkadah (Tam.) ; Kempa-lowya (Can., Mysore).
Description.— Adult male- Differs from P. a. asiatica in having the scapulars, mantle and innermost secondaries barred with pale buff, rufous-buff or pale rufous, these bars edged with black; the pale streak between the rufous throat and the cheeks is wanting; there is less black on the upper plumage, the black spots on the mantle being few or none at all; the primaries are barred on both webs ; the white supercilium is indistinct and the black line above it wanting.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in the preceding bird : wing 79 to 94 mm.
Female. "Whole upper parts vinous-rufous, the rump, upper tail-coverts and tail faintly barred with brown and white; the mantle is occasionally speckled with white and black; the inner webs of the primaries are barred and mottled with buff and only the front of the chin is rufous.
Distribution. South-East of India from Madras to the extreme South but not Ceylon: West it extends to the drier plains of Mysore and Travancore, parts of the Bombay Presidency, the Deccan, Rajputana, Cutch, Gugerat, the United Provinces and portions of the Punjab.
The habitats of the Jungle and the Bock Bush-Quails would seem to overlap to an extent which would forbid their being called subspecies, but Hume explains this as follows :—" It avoids mountains, which it never ascends, forest and thick jungle and eschews well-watered and richly-wooded or cultivated tracks; it loves dry, open, sandy or even rocky plains or low hillocks sparsely studded with thorny bushes; elevation is not of so much consequence to it as the openness and semi-waste character of the Place. Dry, half-barren, sparsely-cultivated plains' districts are its choice and hence it follows that although, where localities such as it affects intergrade with those that the Jungle Bush-Quail prefers, you may shoot both species in the same stubble, yet, speaking broadly, where you find the Bock Bush-Quail, there, as a rule, you do not find the other."
Nidification. Only differs from that of the preceding bird in the description of site chosen. This instead of being in jungle is generally in the open on barren wastes, rocky or sandy semi-deserts or bare semi-cultivated tracks. Any small bush, tuft of withered grass or convenient rock on the sunny side suffices as a shelter, whilst occasionally the nest is placed in thin grass or, more rarely still, in some patch of grain surrounded by uncultivated waste. The eggs are indistinguishable from those of the Jungle Bush-Quail. Eighty of them average 25.6 X 20.1 mm.: maxima 28.8 x 19.5 and 28.3 x 22.4 mm.; minima 24.2 x 18.9 mm.
Habits. As is shown in the above notes quoted from Hume, this is a bird of the open waste country and not of scrub, grass or light jungle ; otherwise the habits of the two birds are identical. They both have a flight very similar to that of the Common Quail, quick and direct with a Anal sudden drop into cover.