The Horned Pheasants or Tragopans are amongst the most beautifully coloured of all game-birds, the males being more or less clad in red, with white or grey spots, and the females in brown, formed by a minute intermixture of black and buff. The bill is short and stout; the tarsus equal to the mid-toe and claw, or slightly longer, and armed in the male with a stout spur. The tail, of 18 feathers, is nearly or quite equal to the wing in length, and the middle feathers are considerably longer than the outer ; the wing is rounded, the 1st primary shorter than the 10th, 4th or 5th longest. The male has an occipital crest of lengthened feathers and two elongate erectile subcylindrical fleshy horns one from above each eye: these usually lie concealed by the crest, and are only erected when the bird " shows off." There is also a brilliantly coloured aprOn-shaped gular wattle or lappet, that can be spread or withdrawn at pleasure. Both horns and wattle only reach their full development in the breeding-season. Sides of the head and throat naked in all species except T. satyra, in which they are thinly clad with feathers.
Five species are known, inhabiting the Himalayas and Assam hills and the greater part of China. Three are Himalayan or Assamese, and a fourth is said to occur at a short distance beyond the Assam frontier.
Key to the Species.
a. Sides of head and throat thinly clad ; breast red, with white black-edged ocelli ……………………….T. satyra , p. 99.
b. Sides of head and throat naked.
a1. Breast chiefly black, with white spots……………………….T. melanocephalus ,p. 100.
b1. Breast smoky grey……………………….T. blythi , p. 102.
The females of all species closely resemble each other.