21 April 2012

Western Tragopan on stamps…


 This photograph was recently taken at Great Himalayan National Park. Probably it is the third photograph of Western Tragopan in wild  taken so far in the  world as the species is highly endangered. Courtesy (Photo): Director, Great Himalayan National Park
The Western Tragopan or Western Horned Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus) is a medium-sized brightly plumaged pheasant found along the Himalayas from Hazara in northern Pakistan in the west to Uttarakhand within India to the east. The species is highly endangered and globally threatened.
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India Post and Pakistan Post have issued stamps on this highly endangered species of pheasants. 

Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus) 

Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus), also called Western Horned Pheasant, is a local resident in western Himalayas.

Size: male 68-72 cm;  female 60 cm.   Weight: male 1.80-2.20 kg;  female 1.20-1.40 kg.

Identification: Typical tragopan, with orange to red collar, red facial skin and white-spotted, black belly. Similar species: Male differs from that species primarily by red facial skin and mostly black base-colour of lower breast to vent, female has a noticeably duller and greyer base-colour to upperparts and, in particular, underparts.


The Western Tragopan is endemic to the western Himalayas, occurring from Kohistan, east through Kashmir into Himachal Pradesh and possibly Uttaranchal, north-west India. In summer it inhabits temperate coniferous and deciduous forests, with dense undergrowth, from 2,400 to 3,600 m. In winter, the Western Tragopan descends to grassy or shrubby gulleys with less snow cover, between 1,300 m and 2,500 m. At present the population is estimated to be less than 5000.

Call: a loud 'way waah', during breeding season. Wailing cry 'waa waa waa', when agitated, repeated a number of times.

Food: Mostly vegetarian. Feeds on fresh leaves, bamboo shoots, acorns, berries, seeds and insects.

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