11. THE INDIAN BUTTON-QUAIL
Turnix tanki, Blyth.
No bars across the breast. Tail-feathers plain, not margined; the the middle pair neither lengthened nor pointed. With a very small amount of dull rufous on the upper plumage. Wing of male about 3; of female about 3 1/2- Inhabits the Indian peninsula.
MALE:—Without a rufous collar.
FEMALE :—With a rufous collar.
Vernacular Names : — Lowa, Upper India ; Pedda dubba gundlu, Telugu.
The Indian Button-Quail appears to be found throughout the whole peninsula of India, from Travancore on the south to the Punjab and Sind on the west and to Tipperah on the east. It occurs in the Himalayas, probably during the summer only, up to about 4000 feet. In other parts of India it is probably a permanent resident. This is such a skulking and inconspicuous game bird that few persons trouble themselves about it, and consequently details as to its distribution are wanting, but there can be little doubt that it is pretty evenly distributed over the whole of India, hills and plains alike. This bird is usually found in pairs or singly, and it frequents open country, living in clumps of grass, cultivated fields and patches of scrub-jungle. When flushed it rises and skims over the grass or bushes which may be in its way and drops suddenly, after which it can seldom be flushed again. This Quail appears to be a silent bird.
Few nests of this Quail have been found, and the Hume Collection contains only seven of its eggs. Four of these, from Mysore, were found on the 29th April, one from Raipur in June and one from Sialkot on the 26th August. The seventh egg is without particulars, except that it was found at Raipur. These eggs are pyriform and very glossy. The ground-colour of all is a yellowish white, and the eggs are thickly covered with specks and blotches of pale purple, black and reddish brown, and in all the marks are more thickly collected at the blunt end. They measure from 84 to 98 in length and from63 to 77 in breadth.
The male has the crown of the head black, the feathers edged with buff; but as a rule, there is no well-defined coronal streak. The upper plumage is greyish brown, mottled and vermiculated in varying degrees with black and a little rufous, and many of the feathers tipped with buff; the smaller feathers of the wing with a black spot and creamy yellow tip. The throat is whitish. The foreneck and the middle of the breast are rufous, and the sides of these parts are covered with roundish black spots. The belly is pale buff. The tail-feathers are quite plain, without any trace of margins.
The female resembles the male, but has the rufous of the foreneck continued round the neck as a collar.
Length about 6 ; wing of female about 3 1/2, of male 3 ; tail rather more than 1 ; legs yellow; irides white; bill mostly yellow. Weight about 1 1/2 oz.