Tragopan Cuvier, Reg. Anim., 2nd ed., i, p. 479 (1829).
Type, Meleagris satyr a Linn.
The genus Tragopan contains the birds popularly known as Horned Pheasants—a name I propose to continue to use, although technically these birds are nearer the Partridges than the Pheasants. The males are magnificent birds, generally with a great deal of crimson in their plumage, whilst the females are brown or brown-grey birds mottled with black, rufous and white.
In shape these birds are like huge Partridges; the tail is equal to or a little longer than the wing, strongly graduated and carried in the same manner as that of the Common Partridge; the legs are very powerful and are armed with a short blunt spur; the wings are rounded, the first primary the shortest and the fourth and fifth primary subequal and longest, whilst the bastard-wing, or winglet, is much developed ; the bill is small, the feathers of the forehead coming almost up to the nostril; in most species the sides of the face are bare but not in the Crimson Tragopan; the chin and throat are sparsely feathered in the adults but fully in the young.
Two small, fleshy, brightly-coloured horns lie hid on either side among the feathers of the crown, which in the breeding-season become swollen and erectile; there is also some folded wrinkled skin dependent from the chin which in display becomes a brilliantly-coloured lappet of about two inches or more.
Five species are known of which four come within our limits. They extend throughout the Indo-Chinese Mountains from Kashmir to Eastern China.
Key to Species.
A.Head black with crimson markings.
a. Below crimson with black-edged white spots…………..T. satyra, p. 343.
b. Below black with white spots…………..T. melanocephalus, p. 345.
c.Breast crimson-red; abdomen smoky or sepia-grey…………..T. blythi, p. 347.
d.Below crimson, feathers centred with pearl-grey…………..T. temminckii, p. 350.
B.Head brown, mottled like the back. (Females.)
e. Upper plumage streaked with fawn or buff.
a1. Shoulder of wing tinged with crimson.
a2. General tint paler and more buff; black markings fewer…………..T. satyra, p. 343.
b2. General tint darker and black markings predominating.............. T. blythi, p. 347.
b1. No crimson on shoulder of wing…………..T. temminckii, p. 350.
C. Upper plumage streaked with white…………..T. melanocephalus, p. 345.