Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves (Birds) Order: Galliformes Family: Phasianidae
Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus) Status: Critically endangered
Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus), also called Western Horned Pheasant, is a local resident in western Himalayas.
Size: male 68-72 cm; female 60 cm. Weight: male 1.80-2.20 kg; female 1.20-1.40 kg.
Identification: Typical tragopan, with orange to red collar, red facial skin and white-spotted, black belly. Similar species: Confusion could arise with Satyr Tragopan (T. satyra) in south-east of range, although recent surveys suggest that the two species are not in fact sympatric1. Male differs from that species primarily by red facial skin and mostly black base-colour of lower breast to vent, female has a noticeably duller and greyer base-colour to upperparts and, in particular, underparts.
Distribution: The Western Tragopan is endemic to the western Himalayas, occurring from Kohistan, east through Kashmir into Himachal Pradesh and possibly Uttaranchal, north-west India. In summer it inhabits temperate coniferous and deciduous forests, with dense undergrowth, from 2,400 to 3,600 m. In winter, the Western Tragopan descends to grassy or shrubby gulleys with less snow cover, between 1,300 m and 2,500 m. At present the population is estimated to be not more than 5000. An attempt is being made to breed them in captivity at Sarahan pheasantry (Himachal Pradesh).
Call: a loud 'way waah', during breeding season. Wailing cry 'waa waa waa', when agitated, repeated a number of times.
Food: Mostly vegetarian. Feeds on fresh leaves, bamboo shoots, acorns,
berries, seeds and insects.