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Wednesday 23 March 2011

Crested Wood Partridge (Rollulus rouloul)


Crested Wood Partridge (Rollulus rouloul)
, male: photo by Shane K, 2010

I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

File:Rollulus rouloul -Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA -female-8a.jpg

Crested Wood Partridge (Rollulus rouloul), female: photo by Richard, 2009

Crested Wood Partridge (Rollulus rouloul)
, male and female pair: photo by Brian Gratwicke, 2010

I am black but comely: Song of Solomon (King James Version, 1611), I.5


TC said...

A bit of interesting information about Rollulus rouloul (via

"The male of this rather plump partridge bears a spectacular maroon crest and sports a glossy black plumage, which shimmers with green, blue and purple iridescence. Contrasting starkly with this lustrous dark plumage is the vivid red colouration of the legs, feet, base of the beak, and bare skin encircling the eyes, as well as a conspicuous white forehead patch at the base of the crest. The female is very different from the male, but equally distinctive, with an olive-green body, chestnut-brown wings, grey head and black bill. Like the male, the female has vivid red legs and feet and a circle of red skin around the eyes.

"The crested partridge ranges across Southeast Asia, from south Myanmar and south-west Thailand, through Peninsular Malaysia to the islands of Sumatra (Indonesia) and Borneo.

"Found in broadleaved evergreen, dense primary forests and bamboo, mainly in lowland plains and foothills, but up to 1,550 metres in places.

"Crested partridges feed and nest on the ground, but roost in the trees at night. These colourful birds can usually be seen in parties of five to fifteen individuals, foraging for food in the leaf-litter of the forest floor. There are reports of associations with wild pigs, with these birds feeding on discarded fragments of fruit that they would be unable to tackle whole. In addition to fruits, their diet includes seeds, large beetles, wood ants and small snails.

"The breeding season for this forest-dwelling bird varies throughout its range, and in some countries, breeding can continue for most of the year. The nest may simply be a depression in dry leaves or a large domed structure constructed of leaves and twigs by either the male or female. The female lays a clutch of five to six eggs, which she incubates alone for 18 to 19 days (in captivity), although both parents subsequently care for the hatchlings.

"Once a widespread species, this forest-dwelling bird is threatened by the alarming rate of lowland deforestation throughout its range. Fortunately, this resilient bird tolerates secondary, selectively-logged forest and remains locally common, even despite high hunting pressure in several areas."

Crested Wood Partridges, or Roul Rouls as they are affectionately called by those who admire them, are indeed wonderful to behold in their common daily conduct. On available evidence they seem are a good deal prettier than most humans, much better behaved and quite a bit more pleasant to hear conversing, in their lovely musical chirps and peeps to which the Zen teacher Fuketsu refers in his remark to the bewildered dweller in abstract dilemma.

Jan Harteman has made a number of delightful Roul Roul videos in his aviary, happily unaccompanied by artificial soundtrack -- though the occasional noise of a machine tool makes it impossible to ignore the fact that there is ambient civilization, from which these particular Roul Rouls are perhaps well protected, but still. And in the marvelous "family gathering" video, an abrupt dog bark briefly commands the attention of all creatures (including our three cats).

Roul Rouls 1

Roul Roul family gathering

TC said...

I hate to admit it, and maybe it is merely the effect of being confined to the intensive cerebrum zone through forty consecutive days and nights of dismal deluges, but I can already feel the early symptoms of a new dilemma coming on.

Is that large succulent-looking bug she is offering to Mister Handsome actually still alive and kicking, as it appears to be, and if so, can it smell the scented blooms?

TC said...

... and for a bit of mood music, to experience the scented blooms of the Sumatran forest floor by:

"o green brain of hovering clover
soft where the cool wind comes out
and smelling of purple wisteriamasa"

-- Lanny Quarles (Phaneronoemikon): Timbucthoo

Anonymous said...

I would like to touch those feathers now....! wonderful post Tom!

TC said...

Yes, they're so beautiful, not simply black but blue and purple and shiny, when you have a closer look.

Anonymous said...

What absolutely beautiful boids, I bet they're really smart too. It beats me how these people take such detailed close-up pictures of them. All I can ever get with my crow pictures is a fuzzy blur.

Anonymous said...

ah yes....abadguide ...that is something I envy in others.. taking good photos...

TC said...

If there is anything certain to be learned from a private Crested Wood Partridge video festival, conducted over the night hours, it is that they are VERY good at standing perfectly still, when there is nothing better to be doing.

This excellent conservation-of-energy trait not only shows how smart they are but, one supposes, would make them a photobug's dream.

Anonymous said...

Well Sandra, I find birds are particularly difficult because they're so small and timid - even crows. They only stay still until they fly away, and then they don't. With a cow or a horse you can just walk right up to it, but you don't even need to because they're huge to start with. I have such a hard life.


Julia said...

The female may have not a stunning crest, but her green feathers are wonderful.

For taking these pictures, photographers have got impressive zoom lenses and lots of patience (and also a big amount of luck)



Yes, such SWEET BIRDS -- does give new meaning to those oft-sung lines "And a partridge in a pear tree" (as, meanwhile, the rain falls less than gently on our plain). . . .


grey of rain cloud in front of invisible
ridge, motion of shadowed leaf on branch
in foreground, sound of wind in branches

the way that is in the word
in relation to, this

that is also leaving things
out, to be but, what

grey rain cloud on horizon next to ridge,
cormorant flapping to the left toward it

TC said...

In that sense, Artur, it was quite considerate of Our Maker to create goats in exactly the right middling size to match your genius.

Julia, You are absolutely right, and surely from the point of view of the male partridge, the brilliant viridian and black hue of her feathers is more beautiful than a billion Elizabeth Taylor birds.

Steve, Speaking of the ungentle rain cloud, at this moment the monsoon is intense here, violent gusts are overpowering the noise of rushing traffic, the sky is invisible, redwood branches are soughing in the wind, debris is clattering against the roof, a torrent bubbles over the gutterspouts, the waterlevel rapidly rises in the subterranean creek, and

that is also leaving things

for e'en now a volley of hail is cannonading down upon us.

"Monsoon AND hail," says someone. "Never seen anything like it."

Someone has now gone to the nether regions of the haunted house, where there is a flood.

TC said...


and more




Thanks for weather report ("redwood branches . . . soughing" -- here it's the eucalyptus, as you know). Elsewise, the sump pump buried certain fathoms in the earth beside the front southwest corner of the house (filled by a French drain system I put in a few years after I moved here, realizing that there was a lake under the house, filled up by groundwater running across the Mesa (no drainage, as you also know, whoever built this house ("way back when") having excavated under it (not much, no crawlspace to speak of) so that when it's wet the hole fills up, nowhere for it to go -- except into the 50 gallon barrel I buried in that hole, which gets pumped out through pipe into the field behind the house -- all works fine EXCEPT when the power goes out, as it did last weekend for 36 hours, at which point the lake filled up, will be wet under there for months now. . . . Anyway, as I was saying, the sump pump is kicking on every two minutes now. . . .

TC said...

Steve, We have had a sump pump experience, in Santa Barbara, which was, as someone says, "dicey".

And we do remember the problem with drainage on the Mesa.

In the Great Flood of the legendary El Niño winter of '69, we were awakened in our prefabricated cottage on Nymph Road by gentle aquatic sounds gurgling and babbling through the house. Lying abed, I put out my hand into several inches of water...

"I remember drying a rug in the oven," someone waxes nostalgic.

In Colorado we lived beside a creek, which seemed quite picturesque until, swollen by spring rains, it flowed into the downstairs bedroom.

Here we have a sometime creek running under the house. It has flooded the nether regions in the past. This time, fingers crossed.



Thanks again for such sump memoirs, here on top of sounds of birds and waves (no wind this morning) are those of the sump coming on (at least it's pumping now, but the lake under the house will be wet/dank months from now, no doubt --- wish I could send you a photo this moment of the cloud against the ridge (!), to go with those three wonderful ones in this morning's news. . . .