The Mountain Quail

Uttarakhand is very rich in bird life; in Corbett park alone there are about 600 species of bird. The wanton destruction of bird The Mountain Quaillife had a detrimental impact and many species like the Forest Spotted Owlet, Pink-headed Duck and the Himalayan Mountain Quail were driven to the verge of extinction.

The Himalayan Mountain Quail was first reported in 1846 and has not been spotted since 1876. “About a dozen specimens were collected near Mussoorie in the Cloud End’s Estate and Sher-ka-Danda Ridge in Naintal prior to 1877. Field observations during the mid-nineteenth century suggest that it may have been relatively common, but it was certainly rare by the late 1800s, potentially indicating in population and may have escaped detection in what remains of the forested mountain areas of the Central Himalaya between 1500 and 1850 meters.”

The rediscovery of the Forest Owlet in 1998 indicates that Himalayan Mountain Quail could have survived the pressure of the wilderness in the region.

In consonance with the viewpoint, The Forest Department of Kumaun has launched a unique project during the Wild Life Week, ‘In the Quest of the Himalayan Mountain Quail’, to find out whether it is extinct or elusive. Interestingly, many bird watchers had spotted it in different areas in Uttarakhand during 1945-50 but could not photograph it. “What makes it enigmatic,” is that the local villagers identified the species from the picture and description.”

The Mountain Quail is one of the the rarest Galliforms (heavy bodied, ground-feeding birds) in the world. Sarvpirya Consul, A keen bird watcher, states, “It is a medium-sized bird with red bill and legs. The writer spot in front of the eye in both males make them distinctive. “Its rediscovery in Uttarakhand will bring about a revolution in the field of ornithology and facilitate in establishing Uttarakhand as a haven for bird watching in the International Circuit.

….from Haridwar plus dated 27 Oct. 2013