The Burmese Button-Quail.
Turnix maculatus Vieill., Nouv. Diet. d'Hiat. Nat., xxxv, p. 47 (1819) (Assam). Turnix blanfordi. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 155.
Vernacular names. Ngon (Burmese); Dao-duma gajao (Cachari); Inruibuma gheherba (Naga).
Description. - Adult male and female. Similar to the next bird but very much bigger. Adults are darker and retain a greater amount of black barring on the back; the sides of the crown are more marked with black and the pale edgings to the feathers of the back are very conspicuous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris white. In the male the bill is pale horny-brown, with a tinge of yellowish flesh-colour or yellowish at the base of the maxilla and on the mandible, tip and apical half of culmen a darker brown ; legs, feet and claws yellowish, in some cases rather fleshy and in some a more distinct yellow.
In the female the bill is paler and more yellow.
Measurements, Wing, 92 to 96 mm., 97.5 to 105 mm.
Distribution. Assam in the Surrma Valley, all Burma, Shan States, Siam and thence through Yunnan and China to Manchuria. Assam birds North of the Brahmapootra and on the North of the Watershed of the Barail range and Patkoi Hills falling into the Brahmapootra seem all to be nearer T. m. tanki than to the typical form.
Nidification. The Burmese Button-Quail breeds commonly from the plains up to 4,000 feet and less often up to 6,000 feet over the whole of its range. It keeps to widespread areas of grass-land, scrub, bush and bamboo-jungle, seldom if ever entering real forest. It likes dry places for nesting and keeps to the higher slopes of hills, or to the tops in preference to the bottoms of ravines. Otherwise its nesting-habits are much the same as those of the rest of the genus. The eggs, always four in number, only differ in their large size from other Turnix eggs but they are mostly of the speckled suscitator type rather than the blotched dussumieri type. One hundred eggs average 25.5 x 20.8 mm.: maxima 28.1 X 21.1 and 27.0 x 22.2 mm.; minima 22.2 x 20.0 and 25.3 x 18.8 mm.
Habits. Those of the genus. Except that this Button-Quail is when first disturbed more prone to take to wing than the other species and subspecies, there is nothing special to record about it. The voice of the female is the same loud challenge and the male has the same little note to its young, sounding like " chuck chuck."
The hen-bird must lay many clutches of eggs in a season, for directly she has laid one set, she commences to boom again and I have found fresh eggs laid within a few yards of others almost hatching and as no hen-bird would permit another hen to come so close, the presumption is that they were all laid by one bird.