Satyr Tragopan

(Tragopan satyra)

Other Names: Indian Tragopan, Crimson Tragopan, Crimson-horned Pheasant.

Range: The central and eastern Himalayas.

Subspecies: None recognized.

Habitat: Mountainous forests from about 8,000 to 14,000 feet in summer and 6,000 feet in winter.

Description, Male: Delacour's description 1977: Head almost completely feathered and black, a band on each side of the crest, the sides of the neck, the upper back, shoulders, and upper breast, deep crimson red; rest of under parts crimson, with black and white ocelli, becoming larger and greyish on the abdomen and flanks; under tail coverts red, with brown-lined white ocelli, and two larger olive ones on the sides; longer tail-coverts brown with subterminal mottled dark brown and buff, the tip of tail black. Iris brown; bill black; bare skin of throat dark blue; lappet blue in the middle, pale green on the margins, with four or five triangular scarlet patches on each side; fleshy horns blue; the lappet extends to a length of 100 mm and the horns to 75 mm during display; legs pink. The tail is proportionally longer than other Tragopans. First year Male: Like the female, but larger and higher on the legs, with a black-head, much red on the neck and upper back, the breast more or less splashed with red, with few white ocelli.

Description, Female: Delacour, 1977: Upper parts rufous to dull brown according to individual variation, with pale buff central markings and blackish vermiculations and patches; tail rufous brown with irregular black and buff bars; chin and throat pale brown or buff lined with black; under parts like the back but much lighter, particulary the abdomen where the pale center of the feathers expands into a large whitish spot. Iris brown; orbital skin bluish; bill horn brown; legs whitish grey.

Status in Wild: Listed as vulnerable, believed there are less than 20,000 remaining in the wild.

Avicultural Data

Status in Aviculture: Uncommon.

Breeding Season: April to June.

Breeding Age: Second year.

Clutch Size: 4-6.

Incubation Period: 28 days.

Misc. Aviculture Notes: Although not as common in American aviaries as its cousin the Temminck's, Satyr Tragopan are highly ornamental and much sought after by aviculturists. They require large aviaries, perferably those with plenty of shade as they cannot take extreme heat and direct sunlight. They tolerate cold rather well and only adequate protection is required. The flooring of the aviary should be kept as clean as possible. Sand is often used as it is easy to rake and keep clean. I have also seen aviaries with wire floors that were about 4 inches off the ground, this allowed most of the droppings to fall through and allowed the grass to grow up through the wire which the tragopans love.

Tragopans are usually kept in pairs. The hens are tree nesters and will use flat boxes placed on perches or other items within an aviary. They like their privacy, so provide plenty of retreats during the breeding season. Tragopan chicks should be raised on wire, away from their droppings. Offer plenty of finely chopped greens, mealworms and chopped hard-boiled egg in addition to the primary game bird starter diet. Keepers will often sprinkle vitamin supplements such as Vionate on the chopped eggs and mealworms. Small branches are placed throughout the brooder to allow the chicks to exercise.


Click on thumbnails for larger views.

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Photo Credits
(l to r): 1-2, Jan Harteman; 3-5, Roman Kmicikewycz; 6, Scott Colomb; 7-11, Hugo Barbosa.

Bibliography and Further Reading


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