(1955)Cryptoplectron erythrorhynchum erythrorhynchum.
THE PAINTED BUSH-QUAIL.
Coturnix erythrorhyncha Sykes, P. Z. S., 1832, p. 153 (Karli Valley, North Konkan). Microperdix erythrorhynchum. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 121.
Vernacular names. Kokni-lowa (Hind.); Kadai (Tam.).
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, lores, point of chin and round the eye black, produced as a band round the white cheeks, ear-coverts, chin and throat; a broad band over the forehead and from above the eye to the nape white, sometimes spotted with black; crown black, brown in the centre and sometimes mixed with brown at the sides; upper parts brown tinged with olive and each feather with a velvety-black subterminal spot; scapulars, wing-coverts and innermost secondaries with white or creamy shaft-lines; the coverts towards the outer edge of the wing are more and more barred with rufous; the outer primaries are edged with rufous and the inner primaries barred with the same on the outer webs ; secondaries more definitely barred across both webs ; tail-feathers blackish-brown barred with rufous; the bars paler towards the tips ; remainder of lower parts chestnut, the upper breast washed with the colour of the back and the feathers sub-tipped with small black spots; sides of the breast, flanks and under tail-coverts with large subterminal black blotches and pure white fringes.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dull grey-brown (?juv.) to brown, light yellow-brown or hazel; bill, legs and feet deep red. Young birds have the legs a duller red, almost a brownish-red.
Measurements. Wing 81 to 92 mm.; tail 38 to 49 mm.; tarsus 25.5 to 27 mm.; culmen 14 to 16 mm.
Female. Head and throat with no black and white, these colours being replaced by dull rufous; the black marks on the crown and back are smaller; the wings are marked with paler and duller rufous; the breast is immaculate rufous, the blotches on the flanks are smaller and the white on the lower parts is wanting or nearly so.
Measurements. Wing 84 to89 mm.
Chick in down. " Pretty little dark things with three stripes of a light cream-colour extending down their hacks " (Miss Cockburn).
Distribution. South-West India, from Poona to Travancore, through the various hill-ranges of Mysore, Nilgiris, Palni Hills, "Cardamon Hills, Wynaad and throughout the Western Ghats.
Nidification. This Quail breeds at all elevations, having two breeding-seasons, during the cold-weather months December to March and again from August to October. There is no nest, the bird scratching a hollow under a bush or rock in the scrub or jungle or in among ferns, long grass etc. at the edge of forest. They lay from four to seven eggs, very rarely up to ten or eleven, which are large, rather deeper-coloured replicas of those of the preceding species. Fifty eggs average 31.0 x 23.0 mm.: maxima 34.3 x 24.0 and 31.1 X 24.3mm.; minima 27.6 x 22.5 and 27.9 x 21.5 mm.
Habits. The Painted Bush-Quail frequents broken ground where cultivated tracts are mixed with light forest, scrub-jungle and grass cover and is said even to wander into gardens to feed in the mornings and evenings. Davison likens their call to the sounds "tu-tu-tu-tu-tutu-tutu," different to the call of C. asiatica though in other respects their habits are very similar.