1345. Tragopan melanocephalus

1345. Tragopan melanocephalus.

The Western Horned Pheasant.

Phasianus melanocephalus, Gray, Griffith's An. Kingd., Aves, iii, p. 29 (1829). Ceriornis melanocphala, Blyth, Cat. p. 240; Adams, P. Z. S. 1858, p. 493; 1859 p. 185; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 517 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 67; Hume, N. & E. p. 522; Hume & Marsh Game B. i, p. 143, pl.; Hume, Cat. no. 806; C. H. T. Marshall, Ibis, 1884, p. 422: Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 410. Tragopan melanocephalus, Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 273.

The Simla Horned Pheasant, Jerdon; Jewar, Jowar, Garhwal; Jaghi Jajhi, Bashahr; Sing-monal, H. (N. W. Himalaya?); Jigurana , Bodal, Kulu, Mandi, Suket; Falgur, Chamba ; Argus of European sportsmen.

Coloration. Male. Head black ; occipital crest-feathers longer than in T. satyra, some of them tipped red; no red streaks on the sides of the occiput; nape and neck all round red, deep Indian red behind, brighter, almost scarlet in front; upper parts from the neck black, vermiculated with whitish buff and dotted over with white ocelli; upper tail-coverts each with a black tip and a large subterminal white spot that passes into a brown patch on each side; bend of wing Indian red: quills black, with buff vermiculations and irregular bars; tail the same, the buff markings disappearing towards the end ; lower surface from neck black with round white spots, larger behind, basal portion of feathers deep red on breast and upper abdomen, mottled black and buff on lower abdomen and flanks.

Females differ from those of T. satyra in being much greyer in colour, and in the pale elongate shaft-spots of the lower surface being white instead of buff, and well-defined with dark brown borders.

In the male, bill blackish, irides hazel-brown, naked orbits bright red, horns pale blue ; the gular wattle purple in the middle, spotted and edged with pale blue and fleshy on the sides ; legs and feet fleshy (Wilson). In the female, the legs and feet are greyish ashy (Hume). The horns and lappets shrivel up and almost disappear in winter.

Length of male about 28 ; tail 105 ; wing 11 ; tarsus 3.1 ; bill from gape 1.5. Length of female about 24 ; tail 8 ; wing 9.5.

Distribution. The North-western Himalayas from Garhwal to Hazara. The Eastern limit, according to Hume, is between the Kattor and Billing Rivers in Native Garhwal, the Western is east of the Indus.

Habits, &c. These have been admirably described at length by Wilson (" Mountaineer "), whose notes are quoted by Jerdon and Hume. They are very similar to those of T. satyra. This Horned Pheasant is a forest bird, feeding chiefly on leaves of trees and bamboos : it keeps at elevations near the snow in summer, descending lower in winter, and has a bleating call, which, however, is very rarely uttered except in the breeding-season. Six eggs were found in a rough nest of grass and sticks on May 25th, by Capt. Lautour, when shooting in Hazara; the eggs were pale buff, finely and minutely freckled, and averaged 2.51 by 1.7.

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: 
1345. Tragopan melanocephalus
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Western Horned Pheasant
Western Tragopan
Tragopan melanocephalus
Vol. 4

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