Partridges are found only in the Jaffna Peninsula and along the north-east coast as far as Mullaittivu, and the north-west coast as far as Calpentyn. They live among the low thorny bushes along the shore, and are never seen more than a few miles inland. This restricted area seems to show that they are not indigenous but were introduced, perhaps from India, by some European sportsman stationed in Jaffna in the early days of the British occupation.
They are " red-legged " or " grey " partridges, ovtygornis pondiceriana, and are called "kavudāri" by the Tamils, who snare a good many of them for sale. These birds are usually seen in pairs, but coveys of them are often come upon. They lie very close in the dense, thorny bushes they frequent, and a dog is usually required to get them out. Sportsmen have often had to poke them out with sticks, or drive them out with stones. They are swift runners and often scurry from bush to bush in preference to rising. They frequently perch in trees, and are supposed to roost in them at night out of reach of the numerous snakes which infest the thorny bushes on the coast. The female lays from eight to ten eggs on the ground without any proper nest. Their food consists of insects and seeds. They have a peculiar noisy clucking cry which is supposed to be produced by the male and female repeating each other's notes with scarcely any interval between, producing a singular effect. The best bag of these birds ever made by one gun, was probably twelve and a half couple, shot by Mr. E. F. Hopkins, C.C.S., at Jaffna.
Quails are constantly put up by sportsmen in the plains and glades and other dry grass lands in the low-country, but they are not often fired at, for the simple reason that men rarely have ready cartridges loaded with the proper shot. Quails generally rise almost at one's feet and fly only a short distance, or run a few yards along the path, and at such range a charge of ordinary snipe shot is likely to blow so small a bird to bits. If they are known to be fairly plentiful in any old chźna or abandoned fields it might be worth while to load a few cartridges with No. 10 shot and a small charge of powder, and to go after them as they are capital eating. They are, however, scarcely worth considering as among the game birds of Ceylon.