Sclater’s monal (Lophophorus sclateri)

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Sclater's monal male in captivity
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Sclater’s monal fact file

Sclater’s monal description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderGalliformes
FamilyPhasianidae
GenusLophophorus (1)

Like other monals (Lophophorus spp.), Sclater’s monal is a spectacularly colourful bird, boasting shimmering metallic green, blue, purple and black upperparts, a bluish-green crown, metallic coppery-bronze neck and blue facial skin (4). A distinctive feature of this species is the white feathers of the lower back and rump, which extend into a broad chestnut band on the tail, tipped in white (although the tail is completely white in a recently discovered population in Arunachal Pradesh, India) (4) (5). Males of this species also differ from other monals in having no obvious crest, just short, curly crown feathers (2) (4) (5). The female is brown with fine barring of dark brown and buff on the breast, and is generally darker than other monals, with a broader white tail tip and no crest (4) (5).

Also known as
Crestless monal.
Spanish
Faisán Monal de Sclater, Lofóforo de Sclater, Monal Coliblanco.
Size
Male weight: c. 2500 g (2)
Female weight: 2126 – 2267 g (2)
Length: 63 – 68 cm (2)
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Sclater’s monal biology

Sclater’s monal is solitary during the breeding season (spring), but gregarious in winter (5). However, the breeding behaviour of this pheasant is poorly understood, with very little information from either wild or captive conditions (6). Clutches have been found in April, May and June (6), and more than one clutch of five eggs has been reported (2).

Very little is known about this species’ feeding habits, other than that Polygonum seeds and flower-heads have been found in the diet. In China, rhizomes of ferns, bamboo leaves and other unspecified leaves are all reportedly consumed, while the newly discovered race in Arunachal Pradesh, India, was observed feeding on the underground tubers of the cobra lily (Arisaema) (6).

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Sclater’s monal range

Endemic to the eastern Himalayas, from Arunachal Pradesh, India, east through north Myanmar and south-east Tibet to west Yunnan, China (5). In India a newly discovered but as yet unnamed subspecies is thought to occupy a restricted range from the eastern Tawang (Towang) district to the western Upper Subansiri district (6).

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Sclater’s monal habitat

Sclater’s monal occurs in coniferous forest with a bamboo understorey, subalpine rhododendron scrub, azalea forest, and areas of juniper, cotoneaster, open grass and rocky precipitous slopes. Found between 3,000 and 4,200 metres above sea level, descending to as low as 2,000 metres in winter (5).

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Sclater’s monal status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1) and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Sclater’s monal threats

Habitat degradation and over-exploitation for food are thought to be the main threats to Sclater’s monal across its range, while hunting for feathers to make ornaments and fans is an additional problem in India (2) (5) (6). Deforestation is considered a serious threat to the Chinese population, but commercial forest clearance poses little threat in India, since logging has been banned in relevant areas of Arunachal Pradesh. In northern Myanmar, ceasefires signed between the Yangon (Rangoon) government and rebel groups are apparently leading to increased rates of deforestation, as the groups can now coordinate logging activities and trade with China in peace. It is possible that this development will have a dramatic impact on forest availability for this species (6).

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Sclater’s monal conservation

Sclater’s monal is legally protected in China (a first class nationally protected species), India (Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Act 1972) and Myanmar (List of protected species 1994) (6). The species also occurs in the Gaoligong Shan National Nature Reserve and Nu Jiang Nature Reserve in China, the Medog National Nature Reserve and Chayu Nature Reserve in Tibet, and the Dehang-Debang Bioshpere Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, India, which encompasses the Dibang Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Mouling National Park and unclassified state forests (5) (6). Fortunately, although there appears to have been a long tradition of hunting and egg-collection in the mountains between India and China, the altitudes at which this pheasant lives and the inaccessibility of much of its range probably protect it from excessive hunting (6).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more information on Sclater’s monal see:

  • BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Gregarious
Tending to form a group with others of the same species by habitually living or moving in flocks or herds rather than alone.
Subspecies
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2008)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World - New World Vultures To Guineafowl. Vol. 2. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. CITES (July, 2006)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. gbwf.org: Dedicated to the Aviculture and Conservation of the World’s Galliformes (August, 2006)
    http://www.gbwf.org/pheasants/sclaters_monal.html
  5. BirdLife International (August, 2006)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=244&m=0
  6. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
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Image credit

Sclater's monal male in captivity  
Sclater's monal male in captivity

© John Corder / World Pheasant Association

World Pheasant Association
Biology Field Station
Newcastle University
Heddon-on-the-Wall
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE15 0HT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1661 853397
Fax: +44 (0) 1661 853397
office@pheasant.org.uk
http://www.pheasant.org.uk/

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