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cline01 (1K)

Blyth's Tragopan
(Tragopan blythi)

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cline01 (1K)

Blyth's Tragopan

Tragopan blythii, Male
Photo by Myles Lamont

Additional Information

Breeding Season:

Breeding Age: Second year.

Clutch Size: 2 to 5

Incubation Period:: 28 to 30 days.

Description - Male: The largest of the Tragopans, the adult male is a brillantly colored bird. The bare face skin is bright yellow, a black band extends from the base of the bill to the crown and another black band extends behind the eye. During courtship, the yellow wattle is not as long as in other Tragopans, only about 1 1/2 inches long. The upper breast and neck is rusty red, not as bright as the Temminck's or Satyr. The lower breast and belly is grayish-red with faint spots. The back and rest of the body is brownish red with many white ocelli. The full plumage is not attained until the second year. molesworthi is darker than blythi, gray on lower breast is paler and extends higher on the breast.

Description - Female: Similar to the Satyr hen, but is larger and paler. Overall dark brown with black, buff and white mottling. Differs from Temmincks in lacking the bold white spots on underparts. molesworthi darker.

Status in Captivity: Very rare.

Misc Notes: One of the rarest pheasant species in captivity, the Blyth's Tragopan numbers are growing in both North American and European aviaries with the help of the World Pheasant Associations and dedicated breeders. They were first seen in captivity in 1870 when a few birds were brought to the London Zoo. They were imported sporadically over the next over the next seventy years, but captive populations soon died out. It wasn't until the early 1980's that birds were seen again in our aviaries, but still remain very rare in captivity.

Like other Tragopans, they use nesting boxes hung high in the aviary. Since they are native to the mountains, they do not tolerate heat very well and need lots of shade during the summer months. Cold weather is not a problem with this species. Those who raise this species report that the chicks are large, tough and care as in other Tragopan species.

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Bibliography and Further Reading

  • Delacour, J. 1977. The Pheasants of the World. 2nd ed., World Pheasant Association and Spur Publications, Hindhead, U.K.
  • Delacour, J. 1978. Pheasants: Their Care and Breeding. T.F.H. Publishing, Neptune, NJ.
  • De Schauensee, R.M. 1984. The Birds of China. Smithsonian Press, Washington D.C.
  • Grimmett, R., Inskipp, C., Inskipp, T. 2000. Birds of Nepal. Christopher Helm, London; Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
  • Howman, K. 1991. Pheasants of the World: Their Breeding and Management. Hancock House Publishers, Surrey, B.C. Canada.
  • Johnsgard, P.A. 1999. The Pheasants of the World: Biology and Natural History. 2nd ed., Smithsonian Press, Washington D.C.
  • Madge, S., McGowan, P. 2002. Pheasants, Partridges, and Grouse. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

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