Perdicula argunda

ROCK BUSH-QUAIL.

Perdicula argunda

Sinkadeh, Tamil.

This, the only near relative of the last species, has been very much mixed up with it ; the native name in Hindustani is the same, though in Canarese it is distinguished as Kemp Lowga, and in Telugu as Lawunka. The wonder is that the birds themselves have not got mixed up, especially as they sometimes occur together; if they inhabited separate areas altogether one would be inclined to regard the present one as only a local race of the other. In Hume's plate, as he points out, a female of the jungle species does duty in the foreground (the standing bird) as a representative of this one, and the plate is lettered for that species. Yet there is a positive difference; in the present species both webs of the pinion-quills are marked with buff, while such markings are only on the outer web in the other. The differences elsewhere are mostly comparative, as is usual in local races rather than true species ; the rock bush-quail is larger, has the red of the head much duller, and, in the cock, the barring of the under-parts broader. The hen has the top of the throat whitish, and a whitish abdomen, but both lack the eyebrow-stripe of white found in the other kind. The rock bush-quail is not found in Ceylon at all, and, though a Peninsular bird, is on the whole differently distributed, since it is usually found on different ground, the two species largely replacing each other; though, as has been said above, they may at times be found together.

The rock bush-quail is not so fond of cultivation or elevated land, being more a bird of dry sandy plains or hillocks, where the only vegetation is scanty scrub; it is, in fact, a bird of the open wastes, though, as its name implies, it especially likes rocky ground. Except for this choice of location, it is very like its ally in all its ways; occasionally takes to trees when disturbed, and goes in the same coveys, which go off in the same sort of feathered feu de joie when flushed. It affords fair sport when worked with dogs among the low scrub, but is as dry eating as its relative; though, as Hume rather sarcastically admits, it will make a good pie in conjunction with a whole larder-full of acces¬sories which he enumerates. It is also captured by natives as a fighting bird, but is not so much used or so highly esteemed.

Like the jungle bush-quail, it is sociable even in the breeding-season, which lasts from August to March, young birds being-seen in company with several old ones ; the eggs are creamy white, and four or five in number. Hume says he has noticed no difference in the note, which makes it the more remarkable that the birds maintain their distinction, since a difference in language is often found between otherwise similar birds, notably the common and grey quails.

BookTitle: 
Indian Sporting Birds
Reference: 
Finn, Frank. Indian Sporting Birds. Edwards, 1915.
Title in Book: 
Perdicula argunda
Book Author: 
Frank Finn
Year: 
1915
Page No: 
255
Common name: 
Rock Bush Quail
M_ID: 
1375
M_CN: 
Rock Bush Quail
M_SN: 
Perdicula argoondah
id: 
12410

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