52. TEMMINCK'S HORNED PHEASANT.
Tragopan temmincki, (J. E. Gray).
MALE :—Lower plumage crimson with large oval grey spots.
FEMALE :—Lower plumage with large white blotches ; quills of the wing much marked with rufous on both webs.
Vernacular Names :—None known.
It was about 1879 that Captain H. Stevens, of the 42nd Regiment N.I., received this beautiful Pheasant alive from the Mishmi people near Sadiya, at the extreme east of Assam. There can be little doubt that the birds brought to Captain Stevens were captured somewhere in the Mishmi Hills, and I therefore gladly give this species a place among the Indian game birds in the hope that sportsmen on our north-eastern frontier may try and obtain it. It is not unlikely to be found on the mountains that skirt the Irrawaddy river above Myitkyina.
I can find nothing much on record about this Pheasant in a wild state. Messrs. David and Oustalet remark that it lives on wooded mountains, and that its cry may be rendered by the syllable " oua," twice repeated. It occurs in South-western and Central China.
In the British Museum there are several eggs of this Pheasant, some of which were taken in China in May and some laid in captivity in the London Zoological Gardens. Those taken in China are glossy, but those laid in the Gardens are dull. In shape they are regular ovals and the ground-colour is reddish buff. All the eggs are thickly speckled with reddish brown. In length they measure from 2.01 to 2.27, and in breadth from 1.46 to 1.67.
The male resembles the male Grey-bellied Horned Pheasant in many respects. The black band round the head and the band bordering the throat are, however, much broader; the spots on the upper plumage are pearl-grey instead of white ; the longer tail-coverts are brown, margined with maroon ; and the whole lower plumage, with the sides of the body, is crimson, with large oval grey spots.
The female has the upper plumage, the closed wings and tail a mixture of black rufous and grey, most of the feathers of the back and wings with a triangular whitish patch. The lower plumage is a mixture of black, rufous and buff, a large portion of each feather being occupied by a white blotch. The quills of the wing are boldly barred and mottled with rufous on both webs. The tail is black, mottled and barred with very pale rufous.
Length of male about 25 ; wing nearly 10; tail about 8. The horns, the naked skin of the head and the gular flaps are more or less blue, the last barred with red at the sides. Length of female about 23; wing about 9; tail about 7. In both sexes the legs are reddish, the irides chestnut and the bill black.