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Red Spurfowl - BirdForum Opus

Galloperdix spadicea
Photo by James Williams
female of nominate race. Kabini Forest, Karnataka, SW India


It is a plump, 36 cm long bird. Both sexes have a red facial skin patch and red legs.

The adult male's head and neck are grey, with most of the rest of the plumage rufous in colour with white scaling. The female has a grey head, and brown upperparts mottled with black. The underparts are rufous with dark barring. The male of the distinctive Kerala race, G. s. stewarti has all-chestnut plumage, including the head feathers.


Endemic to India. Widespread from Gujarat and Rajasthan to Kerala. Missing in the east of the country.


This spurfowl is one of three species of bird in the genus Galloperdix.
There are three subspecies: in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Northern Madhya Pradesh caurina, in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka the nominate spadicea and in Kerala stewarti. The latter is almost with no scaling and a reddish-brown appearance.


Usually found in dry forests, especially in hilly and stony ground. Often close to cultivation, may even be found in coffee plantations and lantana patches.


As all members of the genus Galloperdix, the Red Spurfowl is shy and wary and more heard than seen. When alarmed it runs from one cover to another and only flies if there is no other choice. Best chances to see them are in the early morning or late evening when they sometimes venture into the open.
The breeding season is regionally variable due to the rain: January to June in most of the range, May to June in the north and also September to October in Kerala. It nest on the ground, in a scrape in dense scrub or bamboo, and lays 3 - 5 eggs.
It scratches amongst leaf litter for seeds, fallen fruit (especially figs) and various insects. Red Spurfowls don't migrate.


Recording © by Alok Tewari
Amboli, Alt. 22-2500 ft., Western Ghats, Dist. Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, India, February-2019
Calling at day-break.

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