21 THE JUNGLE BUSH-QUAIL.
Perdicula asiatica, (Latham).
Lower plumage below the throat either cross-barred or perfectly plain without marks of any kind.
Inner web of the first ten quills of the wing quite plain and unmarked.
MALE :—Lower plumage cross-barred.
FEMALE :—Lower plumage entirely plain rufous without marks of any kind; but throat rich chestnut, as in male.
Vernacular Names: — Lowa, Hind.; Gorza, ? Hindi; Juhar, Manbhum ; Auriconnai, Sonthali ; Girza-pitta, Telugu; Karilowga, Canarese.
The Jungle Bush-Quail occurs in suitable localities from the outer ranges of the Himalayas in Kashmir down to Ceylon, and from the eastern borders of Sind to about the longitude of Calcutta. It may occur much farther east, for in the British Museum there are three skins probably obtained by Griffiths in some part of Assam. Throughout the above area, the ordinary resorts of the Jungle Bush-Quail, as remarked by Messrs. Hume and Marshall, are " moderately thick forests and jungles, hills, ravines and broken ground, not too deficient in cover, and rich cultivation, if not in too damp and undrained situations, from near the sea-level to an elevation of four to five thousand feet." There is little to say regarding the general habits of these birds. They keep in coveys and are very tame, and are frequently found in compounds, and in the vicinity of houses.
This bird breeds from September to February, but the majority of the eggs in the Hume Collection were taken in September. The nest, consisting of a little grass and some roots, is built in a hollow of the soil under a bush or tuft of grass. The eggs are from four to seven in number, regular ovals, with little gloss, white to very pale buff, and spotless. They measure from 96 to 1.1 in length, and from 79 to 9 in breadth.
The male has the crown brown or reddish brown mottled with black at the sides. The upper plumage is buff, barred and vermiculated with black, many of the feathers with pale narrow shaft streaks. The closed wings are coarsely barred and blotched with black, and many of the feathers have broad pale buff or yellowish shaft streaks. The outer web of the quills of the wing is barred with rufous. The forehead and a band over the eye are chestnut with a creamy white band above. The ears are brown. There is a whitish streak under the eye, and between these streaks the whole space including the throat is rich chestnut. The breast, belly and sides of the body are barred with black and white. The thighs and feathers under the tail are rufous buff.
The female differs from the male only in the colour of the lower plumage. The throat is the same rich chestnut as in the male, but the remaining lower plumage, instead of being barred, is uniformly rufous. The conspicuous buff or yellowish streaks on the upper plumage of the male are not so strongly developed in the female and are almost absent on the back and rump.
Length up to about 7 ; wing about ; tail about 1 1/2 ; legs red; irides brown bill dusky with a reddish tinge. Weight up to nearly 3 oz.