Alovot

Mystery Bird of Southeast Asia.

Etymology: Possibly Simeulue (Austronesian), from ovot ("old forest").

Physical description: Pheasant the size of a chicken. Dark-brown plumage with lighter spots. Small, comblike crest (perhaps only in one sex). Short legs.

Behavior: Nocturnal. Shy and cautious. Feeds on rice. Nests on stumps or logs. Egg is light brown and smaller than a hen's.

Habitat: Dense forest. Takes wing with a heavy, low flight when surprised.

Distribution: Simeulue island, Sumatra, indonesia.

P-'ossible explanations:

(1) An unknown species of Peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron sp.), suggested by Karl Shuker. The description resembles the Mountain peacock-pheasant (P. inopinatus), which lives in undisturbed mountain forests of Malaysia.

(2) An unknown species of Gallopheasant (Lophura sp.). The description resembles a female Crested fireback (L. ignita), once common in Sumatra and Borneo. Females are brown with white-striped underparts. Sources: Edward Jacobson, "The Alovot, a

Bird Probably Living in the Island of Simalur (Sumatra)," Temminickia 2 (1937): 159-160; Karl Shuker, "Gallinaceous Mystery Birds," World PP'heasant Association News, no. 32 (May 1991): 3-6.

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