Pheasant (Monal Himalayan) / Lophophorus impejanus

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The Himalayan monal is the national bird of Nepal

A renowned digger, it will root up most plants in an aviary

This stunningly striking member of the pheasant family is, as its name suggests, found living throughout the Himalayan mountains. The male has an iridescent multi-coloured plumage while the female, like all female pheasants, is much drabber.

The Himalayan monal lives in the coniferous and open forests at high altitude. They normally live in the steep sided forested valleys in winter but when summer comes they move to higher altitude, often above the tree line.

They feed on seeds, tubers, shoots , berries, insects and their larvae. They forage throughout the day and dig extensively with their bills often up to 25cm deep. This leads to areas in their range which show distinctive signs of feeding. The Himalayan monal is preyed up on by large birds of prey and the snow leopard.

Their breeding season begins in April while they are still at high altitude. The male begins calling throughout the day, using a bobbing body display to attract a female. Following mating the female lays 3-5 eggs in a shallow scrape, incubating them for 27 days with the male standing guard over her throughout this period. He continues to protect the young until they fledge. The young become completely independent at around six months of age.