Birds – The Tree Partridges

(Arboricola), so named from their affecting more or less dense forests and often perching on trees, are natives of southern Asia and adjacent islands, being distinguished among other things by a tail of fourteen feathers which is less than half the length of the wing. Of these the Common Tree Partridge (A. torqueola) occurs in the outer ranges of the Himalayas, at altitudes varying from 5,000 to 14,000 feet, where, according to Mr. Wilson, “it is most numerous on the lower ranges in the wooded ravines and hillsides, inhabiting forests and jungles and never open spots or cultivated fields. It is rather solitary in its habits, generally found in pairs, but occasionally in autumn and winter five or six will collect together and keep to one spot. It is a quiet, unsuspicious bird; when alarmed it utters a soft whistle, and generally creeps away through the underwood, if not closely pressed, in preference to rising. It feeds on leaves, roots, maggots, seeds, and berries, and in confinement will eat grain. In the forests of the interior in spring it is often heard calling at all hours of the day, the call being a loud, soft whistle, which may be easily imitated so as to entice the bird quite close.” Its eggs are said to be pure white. About twelve inches long, the male is olive-brown, barred with black above, face and throat black, fore neck white, as are the under parts, while the crown is bright chestnut; the female has the crown brown and the face, throat, and neck rusty, spotted with black.