Satyr tragopan (Tragopan satyra)

Also known as: Crimson horned tragopan, crimson-horned pheasant, Indian tragopan
Synonyms: Meleagris satyra
Spanish: Tragopán Sátiro
GenusTragopan (1)
SizeMale size: 67 – 72 cm (2)
Female size: c. 57.5 cm (2)
Male weight: 1.6 – 2.1 kg (2)
Female weight: 1 – 1.2 kg (2)

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1) and listed on Appendix III of CITES (3).

The male of this species has the darkest, deepest red underparts of all tragopans, with the brighter crimson-red colouration typical of these birds being restricted mainly to the neck and upper breast (2). Elsewhere the plumage is primarily dark reddish-brown to black, spotted with small, black-edged white dots, except for a crimson streak on each side of the crest and red under tail coverts (4) (5). Like other tragopans, males are strikingly adorned with vibrant blue skin on their face, throat and bib-like lappet, which is decorated with a series of triangular scarlet patches down each side. Two fleshy blue horns also project above the eye during male displays. In contrast to their colourful male counterparts, females are a drab rufous to dull-brown, vermiculated and blotched with black and buff markings (4).

Endemic to the central and eastern Himalayas (6), from north India and Nepal, east to Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, India, and also penetrating some lower valleys in nearby Xizang, China (2) (7).

Found in damp oak and rhododendron forests with dense undergrowth and bamboo, as well as mixed forest, scrub and densely vegetated ravines. Usually found between 2,200 and 4,250 metres above sea level during the breeding season, sometimes moving down as low as 1,800 metres in winter (8).

Reportedly shy and wary animals (9), Satyr tragopans remain poorly understood (5). The breeding season extends from April to June, when calling can be heard at dawn (6) and males perform elaborate courtship displays to attract females (2). Three to five eggs are laid per clutch, and then incubated for approximately 28 days (2).

Diet comprises seeds, fresh leaves, moss, bamboo shoots, berries and insects (2) (5).

The Satyr tragopan is thought to be stable in Bhutan but declining elsewhere due to heavy hunting pressure and extensive habitat loss and degradation (2). The primary reasons for deforestation within its range are timber harvesting, livestock grazing, fuelwood and fodder collection, and demands for agricultural land (2) (8).

The Satyr tragopan occurs in several protected areas throughout its range (8). Its listing on Appendix III of CITES also limits and regulates the numbers that can be traded internationally (3).

For more information on the Satyr tragopan see:

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  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)