(1911) Pucrasia macrolopha macrolopha.
THE KOKLAS OR POKRAS PHEASANT.
Satyra macrolopha Lesson, Diet. Sci. Nat., lix, p. 156 (1827) (Almorah), Pucrasia macrolopha. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 84 (part.).
Vernacular names. Koklas, Kokla (Simla to Almorah); Pokras (Kuman and Garhwal).
Description.— Adult male. Crown chestnut-fawn; lateral tufts and whole head black glossed with green ; a large patch of white on the sides of the neck; whole upper plumage silver-grey, a lanceolate streak down the centre of each feather velvety-black, the shafts on the lower back and rump paler; upper tail-coverts more chestnut, the longest almost entirely chestnut with grey tips and with longitudinal broken lines of black ; central tail-feathers rufous, tipped grey, black-shafted, a well-defined black line and a second, less well-defined, running parallel with the shaft; wing-coverts like the back, the grey edges replaced by rufous-brown, shading into grey; quills brown with broad edges of buff, the innermost secondaries mottled and blotched with velvety-black; fore-neck to vent deep bright chestnut, varying considerably in depth and extent but generally covering the greater part of the chest and abdomen; sides of the neck, breast and lower flanks grey, each feather with a central streak of black and those next the breast with the outer web chestnut; under tail-coverts tipped with white spots; vent pale chestnut, the feathers with black bases ; thighs dull buff mottled with chestnut.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill horny-brown to black, less often plumbeous-horny or brown, tinged with greenish or purplish to fleshy or livid brown.
Measurements. Wing 215 to 244 mm.; tail 221 to 277 mm.; tarsus about 63 to 69 mm.; culmen about 24 to 29 mm. ; crest up to 100 mm. and tufts up to 120 mm.; spur 10 to 19 mm.
Female. Crown chestnut or buff with broad black crescentic bars, decreasing on the short paler crest; buff or creamy supercilia, broad and ill-defined; upper parts pale brown with numerous fine broken bars of blackish, pale buff stripes and centres; the upper back and shorter tail-coverts richer in colour and more boldly marked than the rest; longest tail-coverts not blotched, but with pale edges and fine vermiculations of dark brown ; central tail-feathers rufous buff, pale tipped with irregular bars of black centred with chestnut; outermost feathers chestnut with white tips, black sub-terminal bands, and black mottling on either web, intermediate feathers the same but with less black on each succeeding pair; chin and throat creamy-buff, with a line of black spots from the gonys; fore-neck and hind-neck buff with broad black or brown edges to each feather; remainder of lower plumage pale buff to creamy-rufous, with dark brown streaks, narrowest on the breast, broadest on the posterior flanks ; vent and centre of abdomen whitish with brown spots; under tail-coverts chestnut with white spots.
Measurements. Wing 180 to 218 mm.; tail 172 to 195 mm.
Distribution. Kuman, Simla States, Garhwal and North to Lahul. Southern birds from Kashmir, Jamma, are nearest to this form. Probable boundaries between this and Marshall's Pokras-are the Jhelum Eiver in the North-West and the Chenab where it runs East and West.
Nidification. The Koklas Pheasant breeds during May, June and early July from 7,000 to over 12,000 feet. The nest consists merely of a slight collection of leaves and rubbish on the ground but it is always well concealed and is generally tucked away in dense green undergrowth. A favourite site is a rocky ravine or the broken sides of a steep hill, covered with Oak, Deodar or Blue Pine. The number of eggs laid varies from four to nine, most often five to seven. In ground-colour these vary from pale yellowish-stone to a deep warm pinky-buff. The markings consist either of sparse blotches or spots of chocolate-brown, brownish-purple or, in a few eggs, of innumerable tiny specks and blotches of the same scattered profusely over the whole egg. Sixty-eight eggs average 51.3 x 37.5 mm.: maxima 57.0 x 38.1 and 51.9 x 40.0 mm.; minima 49.0 X 37.0 and 51.1 x 34.5 mm.
This Pheasant is monogamous and the male assists in incubation.
Habits. The Koklas is the Pheasant par excellence for sportsmen in the North-West of India and bags of a dozen birds may still be made in a day's shoot. It is essentially a bird of the forests and may be found anywhere between 6,000 feet and the limit of forests, 12,000 to 14,000 feet. It prefers, however, forests which are for the most part open underneath on rocky broken ground with dense undergrowth in the ravines and pockets. Here it feeds mornings and evenings in the open on berries, acorns, seeds and all kinds of insects and retires during the heat of the day to the shady undergrowth. They are among the best of our Indian Game-birds for the table. The crow of the races is a very loud ringing " Kok-kok-kok—kokrass," from the last notes of which the bird takes its name.