CRESTLESS OR Sclater'S MONAUL.
Although this fine bird has not yet occurred in Indian limits, it is very likely to be found to do so, since it inhabits the Mishmi Hill, like the Chinese crimson tragopan, now definitely established as an inhabitant of our Empire. If met with it is extremely easy to recognize, for, in spite of a general resemblance to the common monaul, it has two very marked points of distinction, one at each end—the absence of the crest, combined with a peculiar frizzling of the scalp-plumage, and the white tip to the tail. The white patch on the back also extends right down to the root of the tail, not being separated from it by a dark glossy area as in the common monaul; and this in the case of a captive bird, which is likely to have a broken tail and probably a damaged scalp as well, will no doubt prove the best distinction.
The hen bird, since the question of crest does not come in, is naturally more like the hen common monaul, but even in her case there is a clear and easily-seen distinction ; for she also has a white-tipped tail, and if this mark, owing to damage, be not available for recognition, the noticeable light area on the lower back will show a difference from the common monaul's female.
The first specimen of this bird on record was seen by Jerdon in 1869, and, though it was in bad feather, he, with his great knowledge of birds, divined it was probably a novelty, and proposed the scientific name it now bears. The bird was then living at Shillong, healthy, though in damaged condition; it ultimately reached the London Zoo. As only a few specimens have turned up since, brought down by Mishmis and Abors to the annual fair at Sadiya, there is hardly anything to say about this bird, one of the most gorgeous in existence.