Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Himalayan tragopan

The western tragopan or western horned tragopan is a Himalayan bird found from Pakisatan to eastern Himalayas including Uttarakhand. It is medium sized brightly plumed pheasant. This species of bird is classified under highly endangered species.
These birds are found within the range of 1750 m to 3600 m.
Summer : 2400 m to 3600 m (in temperate forests)
Winter : 2000 m to 2800 m (in dense coniferous and broad leaved forests)
Feeds : leaves, shoots, seeds, insects and invertebrates.

Female : The feathers are black patched with central white streaks. The upper part is pale brownish-grey which is finely vermiculated and spotted with black. Weight : 1.25 to 1.4 kg, length : 48 to 50 cm.

Male : The body is dark, black and grey with white spots in plenty. The spots are bordered with crimson and black patches on sides and at the back of the neck. The facial skin is bare and red with bare blue throat. Weight : 1.8 – 2.2 kg, length : 48 – 50 cm.

The males show inflated throated into lappets that appear purple to attract. The display of blue horns resembling to the Greek mythological god Pan earned the name tragopan. The male calls and sings during the display. The song is loud two-note ringing who-weee. This song is repeated every second for a long period. They build the nests in hollows at the lower portion of the tree. The breeding season is May – June.

In Himanchal, Kullu region this bird species is locally called jujurana which means the king of birds. The state Himanchal nominated this bird as the state bird in 2007.
This bird is one of the rarest living pheasants. These birds are very sensitive to the anthropogenic disturbances ( e.g. Hydroelectric projects). Presently, the rough population of this species is around 5000 worldwide including captive ones.