Considering that our home grey partridge is generally speaking a lover of rich cultivated land, it is very surprising to find that the only one of our Indian partridges which can claim a close relationship with it is only to be looked for in the highest and most desolate parts of the Himalayas ; though it is true that the first Indian specimen was shot on chukor ground in fields in the Bhagirathi. From chukor the present bird may be distinguished quite easily, according to Hume, who shot them on one of the high passes leading from the Indus to the Pangong lake. He noticed, he says, that " their whirring rise and flight were precisely those of the European bird and very different from that of the chukor." He was also led to search for them by hearing their calls, the remarkable similarity of which to that of the English partridge attracted his attention.
This similarity extends to the plumage taken as a whole, but there are plenty of differences in detail; most to be noticed is the white face and throat with well-marked black patch on each side, and the blotch of black, coalescing from black bars, on the part where the well-known horseshoe mark comes in the home partridge, when present. The weight of the Tibetan bird is 'a pound, and, like the home bird, it is excellent for the table. How it gets into good condition is rather a puzzle, for, according to Hume, its environment, like that of the snow partridge, which keeps fat on next to nothing, is not luxurious. He says, "The entire aspect of the hillside where these birds were found was dreary and desolate to a degree, no grass, no bushes, only here and there, fed by the melting snow above, little patches and streaks of mossy herbage, on which I suppose the birds must have been feeding." Prjevalsky, however, found the nearly allied race, Perdix sifanica, in rather less miserable surroundings in Alpine Kansu, where it inhabited rhododendron thickets. In Tibet its western limit seemed to be the Changchenmo valley; those found in our territory are derived apparently from the Chinese portion of Tibet, occurring in Kumaun and British Garhwal.
It has been found breeding near the Pangong lake, on ground where for 100 miles there was not even brushwood to break the monotony of rocky barrenness, and on the Oong Lung La Pass, leading from that lake valley to the Indus valley at an elevation of 16,430 feet, in this case among grass and low bushes. Ten eggs were in the clutch, but Prjevalsky says the Kansu bird lays fifteen. The Tibetan-taken egg which Hume obtained was of a glossy uniform drab, pale, but slightly tinged at each end, especially the larger, with reddish brown.