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A photo of a Painted Bush Quail (Perdicula erythrorhyncha), male
Painted Bush Quail, Male

Painted Bush Quail

Perdicula erythrorhyncha

The painted bush quail, Perdicula erythrorhyncha, is a small, vibrantly colored bird with a distinctive deep red bill and legs. The male is particularly striking with a black face, white supercilium, and throat, while the female sports a more subdued brick-red underpart and lacks the male's white markings. These birds are typically seen in groups, known as coveys, numbering between 6 to 10 individuals.

Identification Tips

Adults measure between 6.6–7.5 inches in length and weigh approximately 2.4–3.1 ounces. The male's black facial mask bordered by a white band sets it apart from the female, which is characterized by a lack of white throat and head stripe. The subspecies blewitti is smaller and paler than the nominate form, with a narrower frontal black band and a broader white band around it.

Habitat

The painted bush quail is found in the hill forests of peninsular India, favoring such environments for its home.

Distribution

This species is endemic to India, with two distinct populations. The nominate subspecies inhabits the Western Ghats south of Pune, the Nilgiris, and other southern hills including the Biligirirangans and Shevaroys. The subspecies blewitti is found in the Satpuras and extends into the northern Eastern Ghats.

Behaviour

These quails are ground-dwelling and exhibit a strong social structure, moving in small groups. When startled, they scatter in various directions, using a series of soft whistles to regroup. Males are monogynous and fiercely territorial, often used by trappers as decoys to capture others. The breeding call of the male is a pleasant, repeated triple note "kirikee-kirikee-kirikee."

Song & Calls

The painted bush quail's alarm call is a liquid note, and they communicate with soft whistles when regrouping. The male's territorial call is a melodious "kirkee..kirkee."

Breeding

Breeding mainly occurs from December to March. Nests are made on the ground, sometimes lined with grass, at the base of a bush or grass clump. The female lays 4 to 7 eggs and incubates them alone for 16–18 days. Remarkably, chicks are capable of flight at a very young age, and females are known to fiercely defend their brood.

Similar Species

There are no similar species mentioned in the provided content.

Diet and Feeding

The painted bush quail feeds on seeds, grain, and small insects. They are often seen dust-bathing and foraging in open grassy areas or along forest roads during the morning and evening.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the painted bush quail as Least Concern, indicating that it currently faces no significant threats to its survival.

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Painted Bush Quails on Birda

Sightings
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Profile picture for Arjun Cheyyur
Arjun Cheyyur
15 Apr 2022 - 8:07am
India

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