All partridges are elusive, shy and have the uncanny ability to hide well especially from birders. The Chestnut-necklaced Partridge is one of the rarest species that occur here in Peninsular Malaysia. You are more likely to see Santa in his open sleigh cruising in the skies above. However, unexpected things do happen in birding and encountering a Chestnut-necklaced Partridge so close to the edge of a forest is certainly one of them. The call of this elusive game bird was the first sign of its presence during one of our birding excursions and at such close distance, it was deafening.
The partridge was on no pear tree but we were so adamant in obtaining better images that leeches, ticks, snakes and God knows what else momentarily do not exist on our forest floor. We tried to remain as silent and still as possible while praying for a better view but that was easier said than done. And to make matters worse, I was quivering with excitement. But Christmas came early this year and the partridge tolerated our presence and gradually showed us more of its true beauty. This is one of the best and most exciting resident lifers we ever had. Terrestrial forest birds are notoriously difficult to observe in the wild. It takes as much luck as it takes field craft to see one well. And today, we were probably the luckiest birders in the world.
The partridge foraged, preened, rested and was totally at ease during our observation. The soft chuckling notes it made while foraging melted my heart away. If I was not seated on the forest floor, my knees would have given way. Things got even more interesting when it started establishing its territory again with those prolonged bursts of loud and wavering calls. I found out from my wife the morning after I was whistling the partridge’s call, which is now embedded deep in my subconscious mind as well, in my sleep. Now, that is what I call a lasting impression.