Description and appearance
All five species of the Tragopan genus have common features, namely:
- males and females outwardly clearly differ (sexual dimorphism),
- males are larger (weight on average 1.5–2 kg), brightly colored, they are dominated by red, brown and black colors, there are additional attributes (tufts, spurs, etc.) that are not present in females,
- females are smaller (1–1.5 kg on average), the color is modest, mostly shades of brown,
- the body of these birds is dense, stocky,
- on the head of the males are fleshy, horns-like growths, the beak is short, the eyes are brown, the head of adult males is decorated with a tuft,
- the neck of the bird of both sexes is short, on the throat of the males are brightly colored skin folds in the form of lapels,
- legs are short, spurs are decorated with males,
- wings rounded,
- the tail is short or medium in size, wedge-shaped at the side.
Types of tragopan
As mentioned above, the species of the Tragopanov includes five species. We briefly describe the characteristic features of each of them.
- Blackhead or western tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus) - The male is distinguished by a black cap on his head, equipped with a tuft with a red tip. There are no feathers on the cheeks and in the area around the eyes; these areas of skin are colored bright red. Part of the neck and part of the chest are red, but the throat is dark blue. The scaly horns on the head are blue. The rest of the body is predominantly black with white and red spots. The color of the females consists of brown, gray and red tones with white blotches. The average weight of a male is 1.8–2 kg, females - 1.3–1.4 kg.
- Burobryuhi or tragopan Cabot (Tragopan caboti) - males have a black cap on their heads with a black and orange tuft. The part of the head around the eyes and beak is devoid of feathers and is colored bright orange. The chest and abdomen are creamy white, the rest of the body is brown, covered with white specks with a black border. The color of the females is mostly brown-red with whitish specks. The average weight of a male is 1.2–1.4 kg, females weigh 0.8–0.9 kg.
- Mottled or Tragopan Temminka (Tragopan temminckii) - many consider this species to be the most beautiful of the whole Fazanov family. On the head of males there is a black-orange tuft and blue growths-horns. From the throat hang spectacular outgrowths similar to the lapels, blue and turquoise with red spots. There are no feathers on the face, the skin is blue. Other body is covered with dark red or red feathers with white specks in a black frame. The females have a modest brown-gray plumage. The male weighs on average 1.3–1.4 kg, the weight of the female is 0.9–1.0 kg.
- Serobryuhy or Tragopan Blyth (Tragopan blythii) is the largest representative of this genus. The males have a bright red tuft with a black stripe on the head, the front part of the head is yellow and has no feathers. The neck and chest are red, the belly is smoky gray, the other parts of the body are red-brown, covered with white spots. The color of females is dominated by brown with brown, black and white specks, their belly is gray. Males weigh 2.1 kg on average, females weigh up to 1.5 kg.
- Tragopan satyra, he's indian. The head is adorned with a black tuft with dark red spots, as well as blue growths of horns. The area around the eyes and lapel growths on the larynx are featherless and colored blue. The chest, part of the neck and back are red, covered with white specks in a black border. The back is brown with the same white spots. The female has brown-reddish plumage with black and light spots. The weight of males is 1.6–2 kg, females weigh 1–1.2 kg.
These birds prefer deciduous, coniferous or mixed mountain forests, growing at a height of from one thousand to four thousand meters above sea level. Different species inhabit the following areas of Asia:
- the black-headed dwells in the Western Himalayas, in India and Pakistan,
- boarbush is found in southeastern China,
- Oculata common in Bhutan, in northeastern India, in Tibet, in the central part of China, and also in the north of Vietnam,
- sulfurous lives in the east of Bhutan, northeastern India, in the southeast of Tibet,
- Satyr lives in Nepal, northeastern India, Tibet, Bhutan, and southern China.
Lifestyle and behavior
These birds lead a secretive lifestyle and are shy, which makes them difficult to observe in the wild. They live in mountain forests with thick undergrowth, hide in thickets or in treetops, usually live alone, in the mating season they form pairs, small flocks can be observed during the maturing period of the chicks. All species are sensitive to elevated air temperature. Usually they wait out the heat on the ground in thick shadow.
This bird is not prone to migrations, it mainly keeps on one territory, but can migrate for short distances, literally several kilometers. Migrations to farther distances are possible only with abrupt climatic changes. Adult individuals guard the chicks until they become completely independent.
What feeds on
All five species feed twice a day: in the early morning and in the late evening, already at dusk. In some cases, they can be fed during the day, but only on cloudy days. They are looking for food both on land and in trees and shrubs. Consume mainly plant foods: berries, fruits, acorns, shoots of plants, their leaves, seeds, buds. On occasion, they eat insects, worms, snails, etc.
It is assumed that all tragopans are monogamous, although the monogamy of some species is still questionable. Males begin to talk in March, conscripts are heard every 10-15 minutes, sometimes for many hours daily. In addition to tokanie, they, to attract females, perform mating dances: squat, shake their heads, open their wings, lower them to the ground, fluff feathers, inflate folds on the neck and growths on the head. Having settled in a certain territory, the males during this period aggressively kick out competitors from it, and the fights often end with injuries and sometimes with the death of one of the males.The marriage period may continue until June. These birds make their nests on branches, in hollows or forks of trees. For the manufacture of nests used grass, twigs, leaves, feathers, moss. Tragopan can occupy the abandoned nests of other birds, most often predators or corvids. On average, females lay between two and six eggs. Their incubation lasts about a month, the females sit in the nest, the males feed them. It has been observed that when eggs are hatching by captive females, they are sometimes replaced in the clutch by males. It is possible that this happens in the wild.
Chicks are born quite developed, in a few days after their appearance, they can flip from place to place. The female herself takes care of the hatched chicks until they become able to feed and fly independently.
Is it possible to keep in captivity
Without any problems in captivity, satires, oculated, and bur-bellied tragopans breed. Other species breed in such conditions badly. Breeders say that in captivity birds get used to people, do not run away from them, can take food from their hands and sit on people’s shoulders. Keep them in enclosures, and year-round. This bird tolerates the winter cold, it is much more unpleasant for it to be direct sunlight, so shelter from the sun should be provided for without fail.
It is believed that the minimum size of an enclosure for tragopan is approximately 40 square meters. m However, there are examples of the successful maintenance of these Fazanovs in much more modest enclosures, with an area of 5-10 square meters. m. In any case, before you start such birds, it is recommended to consult on the conditions of their maintenance at the breeders.
Nests for these birds are arranged at a height of 1-1.5 meters above the ground. Drawers or baskets are used as nests. The basis of the diet is greens, berries (blackberries, elder, mountain ash), vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, cabbage), fruits are especially loved. Grain mixtures are recommended to be given with caution, as the bird may over-fatten and die. Chickens are given grated boiled eggs, finely chopped lettuce, low-fat and non-sour cottage cheese. It is useful to enter into their diet and meal worms.
So, the tragopans, who are among the most beautiful representatives of the Fazanovs, are very difficult to observe in natural conditions, the more they dwell in the inaccessible mountainous terrain. Because of this, their lifestyle to date has not been fully explored.
Fortunately, some species of tragopan people have learned to breed in captivity, so that the poultry farmers can try to get these charming birds.
If fate ever throws you into mysterious and attractive lands like Nepal, India, Bhutan and other states spread out in the east of the Himalayas, do not be lazy, take a sortie into the forest. There, in the shade of high cedar trees or on the branches of a magnolia, and maybe among the thickets of rhododendron, you have a chance to meet a pheasant of rare beauty. The name of a bright blue-necked rooster is also unusual - this bird is called tragopan-satyr (lat. Tragopan satyra).
If the meeting takes place, you can consider yourself a very lucky person, because handsome males usually carefully hide from prying eyes, appearing in open space either at sunrise or after dusk. Females are not so cautious and shy - it is understandable, because nature, as usual, gave them a much less catchy appearance, and therefore males are mostly popular with travelers and poachers.
The roosters of the tragopan-satyrs are famous for their thick and variegated plumage: the head is black, the body is red with white flecks, but the most colorful part of the body, it is also the calling card of satyr, undoubtedly the larynx. This burgundy-cornflower dickey, the saturation of colors which would have delighted even the venerable painter is a real pride of horned pheasants.
By the way, why horned? Yes, because on both sides of the head of the rooster - as a continuation of the “eyebrows” - long processes are pulled back, resembling peculiar horns. Hens of pheasants are deprived of both horns and lapels on the chest, and of a magnificent coloring. The beak of satire is short, black and sturdy, it is 70 cm long and weighs about 2 kg.
The love fever period begins in the early spring with the tragopans. At this time, polyphony spreads throughout the woods: slightly more gentle voices of females echo the coarse low cries of the males - this is how the pairs form. The process of grooming cocks satyrs for chickens is a colorful and spectacular sight.
The current male, chasing a step, describes circles around the “lady's heart”, dropping to the ground the wing that faces the girlfriend, raising the opposite shoulder high. The plumage at the same time tightly pressed to the body, and the horns with the chest jabot, on the contrary, swell and swell to the limit. The ritual dance is suddenly interrupted, followed by the most dramatic scene.
The rooster rushes to the side, spreading his wings wide, but, as if changing his mind, stops, turns back to the hen and demonstrates the full force of his fiery feelings: he slowly flaps his wings, plays with feathers, shakes his head and red-blue lapels with inspiration. At this point, the satyr is especially good - with swollen horns, pompous jabot and feathers shimmering in the sun.
Having created a pair, pheasant-satire build their nest - the higher from the ground, the better. Do not miss a chance to occupy an empty dwelling of a bird of prey, if there is one in mind. At the bottom of the nest, which is a troublesome chicken lining the foliage, branches and moss, from 3 to 6 cream eggs appear soon. The nestlings that swam in their time have pronounced flight feathers, but they do not grow too fast compared to other yellow-headed birds, and for a long time still need parental care. They absolutely can not stand the cold weather, so for the time of sleep they invariably climb under the warm mother's wing.
By 3 months of age, the “boys” acquire dark plumage and a patterned pattern, and after a few more weeks, their coloring is enriched with the first red lights. Tragopans get a complete set of wonder clothes, having passed the first year of life - at the same time they are ready to current, find a pair and have offspring. They feed on satire mainly on plant buds, young leaves, berries and tender shoots, sometimes they can be nourished by seeds or diversify the diet with insects. Food is found on the branches and on the ground.
Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to meet tragopan-satire in natural conditions - the culprit is poaching and tourism, but the breeding of these birds is very popular among poultry farmers. The first representatives of horned pheasants were brought to Europe in the second half of the last century. Satires reproduce quite successfully in captivity, and every farmer dreams of getting this rare bird into his farm.