62. MRS. HUME'S BARRED-BACKED PHEASANT.
Calophasis humice, Hume.
MALE :—The feathers of the back and rump blue narrowly margined with white.
FEMALE :—All the tail-feathers, except the middle pair, chestnut tipped with a double band of black and white.
Vernacular Name : —Loi-nin-koi, Manipur.
This lovely species was discovered by Mr. Hume in Manipur in 1881. The only two birds of this species which he was fortunate enough to obtain in that country were brought in to him by natives, and consequently Mr. Hume acquired no personal knowledge of the habits of this Pheasant. What little he was able to learn about this bird from the natives is summed up in the following note :—" According to the accounts of my savages these birds live in dense hill forests at elevations of from 2500 feet (the height of the lower end of the Manipur plain, or, as it is miscalled, valley) to fully 5000 feet. They prefer the neighbourhood of streams and are neither rare nor shy. They extend right through the Kamhow territory into Eastern Looshai and North-west Independent Burmah.'
"That they occasionally stray up the Jhiri valley well into Manipur is probable, and they may occur not only where we procured them, in the extreme south of that state, but also probably in the southern portion of its eastern hills."
Of a live bird which he kept for a few days until it was accidentally killed, Mr. Hume observes :—" The live bird, though a full-grown cock, became perfectly tame in a few days, and a great favourite in the camp. It would eat bread, boiled rice, winged white-ants, moths, taking them gingerly out of our hands."
Shortly after Mr. Hume discovered this Pheasant, Colonel Godwin-Austen's collectors obtained specimens of it on the Shiroifurar Peak in Manipur at 8000 feet.
In the male the crown, back of the head and the ears are brown, the feathers at the sides of the crown with white bases which form an imperfect band. The throat, the neck all round, the upper mantle and the upper breast are glossy bluish black, each feather with a triangular black velvet spot. The lower mantle and lower breast are rich maroon with similar black spots. The back and rump are pale blue, each feather with a narrow white fringe. The closed wings are maroon with two broad white bands and a broader intermediate bluish-black band. The first ten quills of the wing are dark brown on the inner web, rufous on the outer; all the other quills of the wing tipped with a double bar, the first of which is black and the other or terminal portion white. The lower plumage below the breast is rich maroon and the feathers under the tail are black. The two outer tail-feathers are black mottled with grey at their base; the next pair is black mottled with grey and with a broad black tip; the next four pairs are grey barred with black; the middle pair is grey with eight bars, the first four of which are black followed by a more or less indistinct band of chestnut, and the last four are more or less chestnut with a median narrow black band.
The general colour of the female is brown; the upper plumage much blotched with black and each feather of the mantle with a triangular white mark ; the feathers of the lower plumage fringed paler. The first ten quills of the wing are barred with buff on the outer web. The middle tail-feathers are rufous, freckled and barred with black; the others are chestnut, tipped with a double band, the first portion of which is black and the terminal white.
Length of male about 33; wing 8 1/2; tail 21 ; legs brown; irides orange ; bill greenish. Length of female about 22 ; wing 8; tail about 7 1/2. The facial skin in both sexes is crimson.