1334. Pucrasia macrolopha

1334. Pucrasia macrolopha.

The Koklas or Pukras Pheasant.

Satyra macrolopha, Less. Diet. Sci. Nat. lix, p. 196 (1829). Phasianus pucrasia, Gray, in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. i, pl. 40 (1830-32). Tragopan pucrasia, Temm. Pl. Col. text to pl. 545 ; Blyth, Ibis, 1865, p. 28, note. Pucrasia macrolopha, Gray, Gen. B. iii, p. 503; Hutton, J. A. S. B. xvii, pt. 2, p. 694; Adams, P. Z. S. 1858, p. 500; 1859, p. 186; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 524; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 152; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 68; Hume & Marsh. Game B. i, p. 159, pl.; Hume, Cat. no. 808 ; C. H. T. Marsh. Ibis, 1884, p. 422 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 411 ; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 311. Phasianus macrolopha, Blyth, Cat. p. 245. Pucrasia nipalensis, Gould, P. Z. S. 1854, p. 100; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 428; Hume & Marsh. Game B. i, p. 165, pl. ; Hume, Cat. no. 808 ter; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 343. Pucrasia duvauceli, Bonap. C. R. xlii, p. 879 (1856); Elliot, Mon. Phas. i, pl. 28 ; id. Ibis, 1878, p. 125 ; Hume, S. F. v. p. 138 ; vii, p. 124. Pucrasia biddulphi, G. F. L. Marsh. Ibis, 1879, p. 461 ; id. S. F. viii, p. 445.

Plus, Kashmir; Kukrola, Chamba; Koak, Kulu, Mandi; Koklas, Kokla, Simla to Almora; Pokras, Bhote Pergunnahs of Kumaun and Garhwal and Western Nepal.

Coloration. Male. Median occipital crest fawn-coloured, the very elongate lateral posterior tufts with the whole head, nape, and throat black, richly glossed with dark green ; a large oblong white spot at each side of the neck ; upper parts to the rump grey with a brownish tinge, browner on the wing-coverts and scapulars, each feather with a broad black lanceolate shaft-stripe, varying greatly in breadth, and confined, in old birds of the typical variety, to the basal half of the feathers on the sides of the lower back and rump ; scapulars and rump-feathers often with rufous shaft-stripes; quills dark brown, with isabelline-buff outer borders ; later secondaries more or less mottled with rufous near the shafts; long upper tail-coverts and middle tail-feathers varying from dull rufous to chestnut, with grey tips; outer rectrices black, shading into chestnut on the outer webs towards the base, and narrowly tipped white ; fore neck, middle of breast and of upper abdomen chestnut; sides of breast and flanks like back; lower abdomen dull rufous, pale-shafted; under tail-coverts mixed chestnut and black.

Female. Crown black, mixed with rufous or buff; a short occipital crest, dark brown in front, buff with black spots behind; supercilia buff; forehead and sides of head buff, with blackish borders to feathers; ear-coverts black and rufous; upper parts generally brown, the feathers with rufous-buff shaft-stripes, black lateral blotches, and the tips and edges much mottled with pale grey and buff, especially on the wings and rump ; tips of scapulars and of some wing-coverts whitish ; quills brown, mottled with buff on outer webs and tips ; longer tail-coverts and middle tail-feathers greyish brown speckled with black, and with irregular, black-edged, rufous-buff cross-bars, sometimes indistinct; outer tail-feathers black, more or less replaced by chestnut on outer webs, except near the ends, the tips white; chin and throat white; feathers of fore neck and sides of throat black-edged ; breast rufous buff, the lanceolate feathers with lateral submarginal black streaks and pale tips ; flanks similar, but less rufous; middle of abdomen white, the anterior feathers with dark brown centres; vent-feathers and lower tail-coverts white at the end, mixed chestnut and black near the base.

Bill black or dusky in males, dark horny in females ; irides dark brown ; legs and feet grey, tinged purplish in some males.

Length of male about 24 ; tail 9 to 11 ; wing 9-5 ; tarsus 2-6 ; bill from gape 1.4. Length of female about 21; tail 8 ; wing 8.5 ; tarsus 2.25.

Distribution. On the Himalayas at elevations between about 4000 feet and the upper limits of forest, from Jumla in Western Nepal to Kashmir. The supposed occurrence of this species in Bhutan is due to error.

This species, as Hume and others have shown, is very variable. The chestnut on the breast and the black lanceolate stripes on the feathers of the back vary greatly in breadth. In typical P. macro-lopha, from the N.W. Himalayas, the chestnut of the lower throat does not extend round the neck, and the feathers of the back, wing-coverts, and sides of the breast have their black shaft-stripes narrow, very often narrower than the grey edges.

In P. nipalensis. from Western Nepal, these feathers of the back, &c. are black, with narrow grey edges, and sometimes the shafts are whitish, there being even in some individuals a narrow pale shaft-stripe. Sometimes also the feathers at the back and sides of the neck are partly chestnut. There is a gradual passage from P. macrolopha to P. nipalensis, and both are highly variable. In the female of P. nipalensis there is often much chestnut on the tail-feathers. A skin with rather more chestnut than usual on the neck appears to have been figured in the ' Planches Colorices,' no. 545, as Tragopan duvaucel.

The variety from Western Kashmir, P. biddulphi, has the chestnut of the breast mixed with black and extending round the neck; the middle tail-feathers are greyer. This race resembles P. nipalensis, but the black shaft-stripes on the back are narrow ; it leads to P. castanea.

This last species, P. castanea (Gould, P. Z. S. 1854, p. 90;. Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 314), is only known by two skins said to have been obtained from Kafiristan, and now in the British Museum. The neck all round, upper back, breast, and flanks are chestnut, and the middle of the abdomen black. This form appears worthy of specific distinction, and it is said to occur in Yassin, Chitral, and Swat; but I cannot learn that any specimens from those countries have been clearly identified, so I do not for the present include P. castanea in the Indian fauna.

Habits, &c The Koklas is a forest bird, usually found in coveys throughout the autumn and winter, singly or in pairs at other times. It keeps much to well-wooded slopes, lies well, and when flushed often rises with what Mountaineer" calls a low screeching chatter. The crow of the male, which is said to sound like " kok-kok-pokrass," is often heard in wild parts of the hills in the morning and evening, and, as with several other Pheasants, is frequently uttered when a gun is fired in the neighbourhood or after a peal of thunder. This bird is swift and difficult to shoot, as it, like other Himalayan Pheasants, often flies with great rapidity down the steep hill-sides; it is said to be the best of all for the table. It lives chiefly on leaves and bods, but it also feeds on seeds, berries, fruit, and insects. It breeds from April to June, and lays about 9 pale buff eggs, often speckled or thinly blotched with brownish red, and measuring on an average 2.08 by 1.47- They are laid in a hollow scraped in the ground without any nest.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol. 4. 1898.
Title in Book: 
1334. Pucrasia macrolopha
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Koklas Or Pukras Pheasant
Koklass Pheasant
Pucrasia macrolopha
Vol. 4

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