PARTRIDGE. Pei cliekka. The partridge differs from the grouse in having the legs unfeathered below the knee, and in having the nostrils uncovered. In the New England States, most of the Middle States and generally in the West, this bird is known as Quail. In the South; it is known by its true name of partridge. In the New England States the Ruffed Grouse is called partridge, and in the Middle States, this bird is called pheasant. The true quail is not found in the United States. It is of the genus coturnim, the partridge subfamily, while the American family of so called quails belong to 'the subfamily odontophdrince, and ortygince, and of the genus, ortyx, oreortyx,lophor tyx, eallipepla, and tyrtonyx. The partridge of the North and most of the South, is well known by its familiar cry, resembling Bob White, and hence often so called. The female makes her nest of grass, circular in form, and places it at the foot of some tuft of grass, or amid the corn stalks, laying from ten to twenty pure white eggs, sharp at the smaller end. These are so nicely arranged within the nest, that should they be taken out it would be found impossible to return them as they previously were. The male often assists in hatching these, and always remains in the vicinity, cheering his mate by uttering his love-note from some favorite perch. When the young are ready to leave the shell, a circular opening is made by the mother through which they are issued into the world. The shell that covers this spot remains unbroken, and is attached to the remaining portion by a small fragment which allows it to open and shut like a door upon its hinges; and a deserted part ridge's nest, if it has escaped injury, is a curiosity well worth preserving, containing, as it would, a number of these shells, with their movable lids. The young run as soon as they are hatched, and remain with their parents until the following spring, when they separate for the purpose of reproduction. They always roost at night upon the ground, arranged in the form of a circle, with their bodies nearly touching, and if alarmed, each individual takes a direct and separate course. The food of all the species is the seeds of weeds and grain, but during the season of their activity their principal food is insects, of which they destroy vast numbers of many noxious species, with the greatest per tinacity. They are one of the most valuable of insectivorous birds. Yet notwithstanding their usefulness, they have been so ruthlessly des troyed, as to have become almost extinct in the older States. As a rule the birds remain in a given locality winter and summer, yet sometimes they become partially migratory, suddenly leav ing one neighborhood and as suddenly appearing in another. Nevertheless, the bird is not capa ble of long flights, as is its European relative. Although a hardy bird, yet it frequently suc cumbs to our severe winters, and multitudes of them are found frozen to death. When dis turbed the whole flock rise at once, with a loud whirring of the wings, very trying to the nerves of the young sportsman, and fly with much rapidity, generally in a direct course, and after alighting scatter and lie very close, enabling their pursuer to flush them one at a time, and frequently in this way the entire covey is destroyed. As an article of food this bird is in much demand, being generally very plump, and its flesh white, tender, and juicy. The male has the forehead, line over the eye, and throat white, sides of head and band below the throat black; the rest of the head and neck reddish brown; back and wings chestnut, lower portion of the former tinged with yellow; tail grayish blue, the middle feathers grayish yellow, mottled with black; sides of the neck spotted with white; under parts white, streaked on the sides with red, and transversely barred with black; under tail coverts red; bill black; feet grayish. The female resembles the male, excepting the head, which has more reddish yellow, and also the throat is yel low instead of white. An allied species, char acterized as the Texan partridge, (Ortyx awn, sis,) is found in Texas. It is a smaller bird than our common species, but closely resembles it in plumage; a casual observer, indeed, would not detect much difference between them. I am not aware that they are very unlike in their habits, and the foregoing account will very likely answer for both. The next, a very handsome species, and equally valuable as an article of food, is the Plumed partridge, (Oreortyx pictus,) a native of the mountain ranges of California and Oregon. It goes in rather small coveys, sometimes of not more than eight or ten, except ing from October to March, when, according to Douglas, it congregates in vast flocks, and seems to live in a state of almost perpetual warfare, and is found principally among the dense woods that border the Columbia river and its tributaries. The male has the forepart of the body plum beous, the upper parts yellowish brown, some times slightly shaded with red; the forehead is ash color, rest of head lead color; a crest of two long straight feathers spring from the center of the head of a black color; the throat is bright chestnut, with a black margin, followed by a white band passing downwards from the eye; the middle of the breast is bright chestnut, the feathers on the flanks possessing margins of black and white bands succeeding each other; tail brown, the under coverts black, streaked with orange chestnut; bill black; feet yellow. The female is similar, but less brightly colored. The feathers of the crest are much shorter, while the center of the back, the wings, and tail are faintly crossed with dusky lines. The next genus contains two very handsome species, the first of which is the California partridge, (Lophortyx Californicus,) an inhabitant, as its name implies, of California, where it is found upon the plains and lowlands, sometimes assembling in flocks to the number of two or three hundred, and are generally fat and well flavored. It takes the place
there of our brave little bird of the eastern coast which is never found so far to the westward. It 'appears to be confined to the plains, rarely or never, I believe, found in the mountainous dis tricts, where it is replaced by the preceding spe cies. I have had them in captivity, but like all of this family they were very restless, seeking all the time for some avenue of escape. The male has the forehead straw color, behind which is a white band, which passes back along the sides of the crown, in the center of which anteriorly is a narrow line of the same color; back of head light brown; crest velvet black, commencing in a fine point, increases in width toward the end, and curls forward sometimes over the bill; chin and throat black, with a white line coming from the eye; back and sides of neck blue gray, bordered with black, and a small spot of white at the end of each feather; rest of upper parts olive brown; tail gray; forepart of breast blue; abdoiben buff, with a large chestnut spot in the center. each feather margined with black in the form of a crescent ; flanks brown, with a whitish line in the center, and a broad one of buff on the outer webs; under tail coverts buff, with a cen tral stripe of whitish. Female wants the black and white marking of the head; has the throat brownish yellow, streaked with brown, and with out the orange spot on the abdomen; the crest is short; bill black; feet gray. The second species, equally distinguished for its beauty of plumage, is the Gambel's partridge, (Loph o rtyx Gambelzi,) named in honor of its discoverer. It is an inhabitant of, the upper Rio Grande and Gila rivers to the Colorado of California. In the male the forehead is white, each feather having a narrow line of black. with a transverse white band succeeding; top of head reddish chestnut, crest brownish black, throat black, margined with white. The upper part of the body is bluish ash, flanks chestnut, each feather having a longitudinal stripe of white; middle of the breast and abdomen white, with a large black spot on the latter; bill black; feet brown. The female has the throat whitish, with the head plain ash color, without the conspicuous mark ings of the male, and also destitute of the black on the belly. The crest is short and of fewer feathers. The next genus has but one species, not as handsome as the preceding, and is known as the Scaly Partridge, (Callipepla squamata). This bird is also an inhabitant of the Rio Grande of Tex4f, and although not so beautiful in plumage as either of the two last species, yet is a very pretty bird. It is noted for its extreme swiftness in running, and depends as much upon this power for eluding pursuit as upon its wings, rarely using the latter even in open ground. It prefers the vicinity of water courses, and is wild and exceedingly watchful, rarely approaching the settlements. This species is generally very plump, its flesh white and of a delicate flavor, and is much esteemed for food. It has a beau tiful crest, which can be laid flat upon the head, although it is frequently spread out like a fan. The head is light ash color, the crest broadly margined with white. General color bluish-ash, growing paler on the under parts, and nearly white on the abdomen, with the feathers of the under parts edged with black; flanks have a central stripe of white on each feather, and fre quently there is a large chestnut spot of a pale hue on the abdomen; under tail coverts almost white, striped with brown; bill black; feet brownish. The sexes are nearly alike, the female, perhaps, not being quite so deeply col ored, and the crest not so full. The last mem ber of this family, to be included in this article. is a very singular looking, yet beautiful bird, and is known as the Massena partridge, (Crionyz Afassena). The fantastic arrangement of oppo-, sing colors upon the head of the male creates a very curious and striking effect, so much so as to cause Mr. Gould, the eminent English orni thologist, to exclaim that it forcibly reminds one of the painted face of the clown in a panto mime. It is a native of Texas and Mexico, met with chiefly in the former region, on the upper Rio Grande and the high plains of the Pecon. This species, I believe, generally goes in small covies, and is gentle and affectionate in its dis position, evincing but little fear of man's pres ence when he invades their domains, thus show ing exactly the opposite trait of character'from the scaly partridge, which is at all times wild and suspicious. The male had the forepart and sides of the head white, with a black stripe beginning at the base of the bill, and running above and below the eye, the lower portion widening into a gular patch, which joins a broad black mark on the throat. A black line in the center of the head, commencing at the bill, and changing to brownish on the upper part of the head., Crest buff yellow, upper parts light chestnut, every feather transversely barred with black, and having a central streak of yel lowish-white. The black bars are broader on the wings, sometimes forming nearly circular spots. A wide stripe of deep chestnut runs down the center of the breast and abdomen; the flanks deep black, each feather with several cir cular spots of pure white; thighs and under tail coverts deep black. Tail and upper coverts same color as the wings. Bill dark brown, feet paler brown. The female is very different. and upper parts of the body are reddish brown, each feather barred with black and streaked with yellowish-white. Under parts cinnamon, with central stripes, and also one on each side the shaft, of black. The head is entirely without the conspicuous markings of the male. The throat is pale white, and the flanks have regular lines and small spots of black.