Blyth’s tragopan


Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii) is a species of pheasant found in the eastern Himalayas, mainly in northeastern India, Bhutan, and parts of China and Myanmar. The ancestor of Blyth’s tragopan is thought to have originated in the highlands of central Asia and migrated to its present range via the Himalayas.

Fossil records suggest that the pheasant family, which includes Blyth’s tragopan, evolved in Asia about 5 million years ago. The earliest known ancestor of modern pheasants was likely the genus “Lophophorus,” which dates back to the Late Miocene epoch (about 10 million years ago) and was found in present-day China.

Over time, different species of pheasants developed unique adaptations and evolved into distinct lineages, including the tragopans. Tragopans are known for their brightly colored, ornate plumage, which is used in courtship displays to attract mates.

It is believed that the ancestors of Blyth’s tragopan migrated southward from central Asia to the eastern Himalayas during the Pleistocene era (about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago). During this time, the region experienced significant geological and climatic changes, including the formation of the Himalayan mountain range and the onset of the last ice age.

As the climate changed and forests expanded and contracted, tragopans likely adapted to these changes and diversified into different species, including Blyth’s tragopan. 

Distribution and Population

Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii) is a bird species that is native to the eastern Himalayas, including parts of northeastern India. In India, the species is found in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram, as well as in some parts of Assam and Meghalaya.

The population of Blyth’s tragopan in India is believed to be declining due to habitat loss, hunting, and other human activities. The species is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, which means that it is at high risk of extinction in the wild. The current population size of Blyth’s tragopan is unknown, but it is estimated to be in the thousands.


Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii) is a medium-sized pheasant species that is known for its striking and colourful plumage. Adult males are larger than females, measuring about 65-75 cm (25-30 inches) in length, while females are about 50-60 cm (20-24 inches) in length. Males have a distinct coloration with a black head and neck, yellow eye patch, blue facial skin, red wattle around the eyes, and a broad metallic green-blue band on their breasts. Females are brownish in colour with black barring and have a whitish throat and belly.


Blyth’s tragopan is a forest-dwelling bird that is generally found in the understory and lower canopy of broad-leaved and coniferous forests.They are known for their elaborate courtship displays, which involve spreading their wings, raising their tails, and making vocalizations to attract mates.

The breeding season of the species is between April and August, and females lay a clutch of about 4-6 eggs. The chicks hatch after an incubation period of around 28 days and become fully independent after 3-4 months.

Food Habits

Blyth’s tragopan is an omnivorous species that feeds on a variety of foods, including seeds, fruits, leaves, insects, and other small invertebrates.

They prefer to forage on the forest floor and in the understory, using their strong legs and feet to scratch and dig for food.


The species is found in a range of forest types, from subtropical broad-leaved forests to temperate coniferous forests, at elevations of 900-3,500 meters (3,000-11,500 feet) above sea level.

Vulnerable Species

Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii) is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The species has been classified as Vulnerable since 2008.

Blyth’s tragopan is considered to be vulnerable due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, as well as hunting and trapping for food and trade. The species is highly dependent on forested habitats and has a relatively narrow range, which makes it vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation due to deforestation, logging, and other human activities.

In addition, the species is known to be hunted for its meat, feathers, and other parts, which are used in traditional medicine and cultural practices. Hunting and trapping of Blyth’s tragopan are major threats to the species, especially in areas where enforcement of hunting laws and regulations is weak.

Protected Areas

Blyth’s tragopan is a species of pheasant that is native to the eastern Himalayas, including parts of northeastern India. 

Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh is known to support a significant population of Blyth’s tragopan, as well as other threatened bird species. 

Namdapha National Park in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh is one of the largest protected areas in India and is known to support a wide variety of bird species, including Blyth’s tragopan. 

Dampa Tiger Reserve in the Kolasib district of Mizoram is known to support a population of Blyth’s tragopan, as well as other threatened bird species. 

Keibul Lamjao National Park in the Bishnupur district of Manipur, this park is the only floating park in the world and is known to support a population of Blyth’s tragopan. 

Intanki National Park in the Peren district of Nagaland is known to support a variety of bird species, including Blyth’s tragopan.

In addition to these protected areas, there are also several community-conserved areas and other forested habitats in northeastern India that support populations of Blyth’s tragopan. Efforts are being made to increase the coverage of protected areas and improve management of these areas to better conserve the species and its habitat.

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