1357. Perdicula asiatica*.
The Jungle Bush-Quail.
Perdix asiatica, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii, p. 649 (1790); id. Gen. Hist, viii, p. 281 (1823). Perdix cambayensis, Temm. Pl. Col. pl. 447 (1828), nec Lath. Coturnix pentah, Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 158; id. Trans. Z. S. ii, p. 19, pl. iii; Gray in Hardw, Ill. Ind. Zool. pl. 45, fig. 3. Perdicula argoondah, Blyth, Cat. p. 254, nec Sykes. Perdicula asiatica, Adams, P. Z. S. 1858, p. 504; Hume, N. & E. p. 546 ; id. S. F. vii, p. 158; Ball, ibid. p. 225 ; Hume, Cat. no. 826; Hume & Marsh. Game B. ii, p. 109, pl.; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 77 ; Butler, ibid. p. 422; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 752 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 63; Davidson, ibid. p. 317 ; Davison, ibid, p. 411; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 312; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 440 ; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 198. Perdicula cambayensis, apud Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 581; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 160; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 6; Fairbank, ibid. p. 262 ; nec Lath.
Lowa, H.; Juhar, Manbhum; Auriconnai, Sonthali; Girza-pitta, Telegu ; Kari-lowga, Can.
Coloration. Male. Upper parts brown, the crown usually more rufous and bordered or blotched with blackish; the back, rump, and upper tail-coverts with wavy black bars, a few narrow buff shaft-streaks (wanting in very old birds) on the back; scapulars, tertiaries, and wing-coverts blotched with black, with broader buff shaft-stripes and, the coverts especially, with buff cross-bars; quills brown, with buff spots on the outer webs, inner webs plain, the inner secondaries becoming banded and vermiculated; tail brown, with black-edged buff cross-bars; forehead, supercilia, cheeks, chin, and throat rufous-chestnut; yellowish-white stripes speckled with rufous above the supercilia and cheeks ; ear-coverts brown; breast and abdomen barred across with black and white or buffy white, the bars a little broader behind; thighs, lower abdomen, and lower tail-coverts rufous, varying in tint.
The adult female has the head and throat coloured as in the male; the upper parts are more uniform ; the pale shaft-stripes are absent on the back, and narrow, or in old birds wanting, 6n the scapulars and wing-coverts ; the lower parts from the throat are uniform dull rufous with a vinaceous or lilac tinge.
Immature birds want the chestnut on the head; the upper parts are much as in the male, but with broader buff shaft-stripes throughout; the lower surface is dull rufous or pale rufous-brown, with whitish shaft-stripes. The change to the adult plumage is gradual.
Bill black or dusky, with a reddish tinge at the base, lower mandible usually paler; irides brown ; legs yellowish red.
Length about 6.5; tail 1.5; wing 3.25; tarsus .95; bill from gape .55.
Distribution. The Indian Peninsula from the Lower Himalayas to Cape Comorin, in well-wooded tracts only. This bird is found in the lower ranges of Kashmir, on Mount Abu and the Kuchawan hills of Jodhpore, but not farther west, whilst it is of rare occurrence in Lower Bengal east of Midnapur and the Rajmehal hills, and unknown farther east. It is common in parts of the N. W. Provinces, in Western Bengal, Orissa, the Central Provinces, throughout the Western Ghats, and in parts of the Malabar lowlands. It also occurs in the northern part of Ceylon.
Habits, &c. The Jungle Bush-Quail is an inhabitant of forests, hills, ravines, thick bush, and rich cultivation. As Jerdon says, " This Bush-Quail is found in covey's or bevies of from six or eight to a dozen or more, and generally all rise at once with a loud whirring sound, and after a short flight drop again into the jungle." It is an exception to meet with these birds except in little flocks, and when disturbed they generally fly in all directions, but quickly reassemble. They feed chiefly on grass seeds, partly on insects, and frequently utter a peculiar chirp or whistle. The breeding-season is from September to February; five to seven creamy-white eggs, measuring about 1 by .83, are laid in a grass nest on the ground, usually under a bush or tuft of grass.
* I cannot recognize this bird by the original description in the 'Index Ornithologicus,' but I quite agree with Hume that the present is the species described in Latham's ' General History.'