The western tragopan, also known as the western horned tragopan, is amongst the rarest of all living pheasants. It is endemic to the northwest Himalaya, within a narrow range from Hazara in north Pakistan through Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, to the western part of Garhwal. Due to its beautiful plumage and large size, this bird is locally known as ‘jujurana’ or ‘king of birds’.

The male, which weighs between 1.8kg and 2.2kg, has a long, black, red-tipped crest and red face and neck. Its back is buffish grey and black with prominent white spots.

Crest feathers are absent in the female, which has a pinkish face and legs and pale brownish grey upper parts, spotted with black. Most of the female’s feathers have black patches and central white streaks. Females weigh between 1.3kg and 1.4kg.

 

Western tragopan display

Western tragopan display

The upper part of GHNP’s forest zone holds the world’s largest known population of western tragopan, which prefers a habitat of ringal (dwarf) bamboo beneath dense forest.

Western Tragopan Habitat ( click to enlarge)

Western Tragopan Habitat (click to enlarge)

 

Immature males resemble females but are larger in size with longer legs and a variable amount of black on the head and red on the neck. Mature males have a uniquely naked throat, know as a ‘lappet’, which they display during breeding, whilst issuing loud calls to attract females.

The western tragopan feeds mostly on leaves, shoots and seeds, but also consumes insects and other invertebrates. Like most pheasants, it roosts in trees, singly or in pairs, although nesting can also take place on the ground.

 

Western tragopan male ( Click to enlarge)

Western tragopan male ( Click to enlarge)

Western tragopan male & female ( Click to enlarge)

Western tragopan male & female ( Click to enlarge)