Himalayan Monal, The State Bird of Uttarakhand

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himalayan monal

The Himalayan Monal, also known as the Impeyan monal, Impeyan pheasant, is a bird in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. The state bird of Uttarakhand, India, This State bird of Uttarakhand has been selected as the mascot for the 38th National games to be held in Uttarakhand in 2018. And it is known as The Monal.

mascot-38-national-games
Mascot for 38th National Games 2018 Uttarakhand

The breeding season is between April to August. The age of sexual maturity is between 12 to 24 months. Himalayan monal is a colorful bird. Size of adult Himalayan monal is between 60 to 72 cm. The weight of adult is between 1.70 to 2.40 kg. Generally, they found single or in pairs. They prefer open, coniferous or mixed forests. Males use body displays to attract females, bobbing the head-crest and fanning their tail feathers.

Traditionally, the Himalayan monal has been classified as monophyletic. However, studies have shown that the male Himalayan monal of northwestern India lacks the white rump of other Himalayan monals, and it has more green on the breast, indicating the possibility of a second subspecies.

Himalayan monal is a Schedule – I bird, according to wildlife (Protection) act, 1972 and classified as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN.

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Himalayan monal is a colorful bird. Size of adult Himalayan monal is between 60 to 72 cm. The weight of adult is between 1.70 to 2.40 kg. Males are slightly larger and heavier than females.

The male Himalayan monal look quite different from the female. The adult male has multicolored plumage. Male Himalayan monal have bright blue, green, purple, light yellow, brown, black and red feathers. They have a white patch of feathers underneath the base of their tail, but the rest of their underside is black. The breast and underparts are black.

monal stamp

At the nape of the neck is a bright yellow patch which forms the top edge of the bluish black wings and the purplish black back. They chestnut brown tail, light brown wings and a white rump that is visible in flight. The head is bright green, and he males have a metallic-green crest on top of their heads. They have bare patch of turquoise blue skin around the eye. The tail feathers are uniformly rufous being darker towards the tips. The tail feathers of the male are uniformly rufous, becoming darker towards the tips, whereas the lower tail coverts of females are white, barred with black and red.

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Females are duller than the males. Females have greyish brown upperparts with white stick lines and black spots. The under parts of female is light greyish brown with white stick lines. Their upper parts are covered with mottled brownish-black feathers. The throat of females is white. The lower tail coverts of females are white, barred with black and rufous. The female also has a crest, but whereas the male is green and has spoon-shaped feathers, the female’s is shorter and brown with ordinary feathers. Juvenile resemble the female. The females and the chicks have an overall brown appearance. Their feathers also have white and black strips on certain parts.

Classification:

Common Name – Himalayan monal
Local Lame – Monal
Zoological Name – Lophophorus impejanus
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Aves
Order – Galliformes
Family – Phasianidae
Subfamily – Phasianinae
Genus – Lophophorus

Conservation Status – Schedule – I according to wildlife (Protection) act, 1972 and classified as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN.

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Habit and habitat

They prefer open, coniferous or mixed forests resplendent with rhododendron and bamboo. Himalayan monal is a high-altitude bird, remaining between 2000 and 4500 meters above sea level. During the summer, they ventures above the tree-line to wander on the grassy slopes. In winters, they found in lower altitudes. Himalayan monal have a shrill whistle, sometimes described as curlew-like. They forage throughout the day, and feed on various types of seeds, tubers, shoots, berries, terrestrial insects and their larvae. They are great diggers, and use their heavy bills to root out tubers and subterranean insects. Generally, they found single or in pairs, sometimes they are kept in small groups, but in the springtime they are a little more territorial.

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The breeding season is between April to August. The age of sexual maturity is between 12 to 24 months. Males use body displays to attract females, bobbing the head-crest and fanning their tail feathers. At this time of year the male switches from calling only in the early morning to calling throughout the day. Males generally only show aggression in the mating season. The nest is a simple scrape under some feature such as a bush preferably on a steep hillside. Eggs 2 to 5, white or dirty white, with brown spots and paler appearance. Incubation period is between 26 to 29 days. Eggs are incubated by female, but the male will stand guard throughout the incubation period and until fledgling to protect the eggs and chicks from predators. After six months the young are completely independent.

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