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Regions > Indo-Malaya > Temminck’s tragopan

Temminck’s tragopan

Location at the Zoo: Indo-Malaya











Scientific Name:

Tragopan temmincki


: One of the best known and most attractive tragopans is the Temminck. The male has a pronounced black forehead and crest, the centre of which is black, as are the ear coverts and sides of neck. The underlying colour of the crest is red-orange. The naked orbital face-part is violet-blue and green, and the throat wattle is red, edged with blue and with a complicated central pattern of dark blue, spotted with pale blue. The horns are a greenish-light blue. The rest of the head and neck are stone-red. The remainder of the plumage is deep red to fiery orange-red. The feathers on the upper parts are each marked with a pearl gray spot outlined in black. The underside has grey drop-formed spots and grey feather-ends. The feet are pink and the tail is dark brown. The female is a reddish grey-brown with lots of black spots and with arrow-shaped markings in yellowy-white and grey. The throat is whitish with black stripes. The underside is light-brown with pearl-grey spots outlined in yellowish-buff and with black patches. The naked orbital skin is bluish.

Length: Male 64 cm. Female 58 cm.
Weight: Male 1362 - 1447 g. Female 907 - 1021 g.


: From southeastern Tibet and northeastern Assam, east to Central China including South Shensi, West Hupeh, and almost all of Szechwan, North Yunnan, and in Myanmar.


: It lives at high altitudes in cold, damp, mountain forests. It is found in evergreen and mixed forest, often where there is dense rhododendron and bamboo, between 900 and 3,660 m above sea level. This species migrates vertically up and down the mountain slopes according to the seasons, spending the cold winters at lower altitudes, and moving to higher altitudes as the temperature rises during spring.


: They have a very diverse diet, feeding on berries, seeds, leaves, green shoots, mosses, fruits, flowers, and insects. They spend most of the daytime on the ground scratching around looking for these.

Reproduction and Development

: These shy, elusive birds live singly or in pairs. Once paired they remain monogamous. The mating season starts in March to April and lasts about a month or so. Tragopan males have an amazing courtship display. Courting males attempting to entice females to mate inflate the large, brightly-coloured patch on their throat, erect the two long fleshy horns above their eyes, fan their tail and perform an impressive dancing display. The "bib" or lappet is particularly vivid with red and blue markings, it is quite spectacular. Females respond and mating occurs. She seeks out a suitable nesting site. This species prefers to nest in trees. New nests are usually built in trees just a metre or so off the ground, but the abandoned nests of other species are also often taken over. When she finds a suitable nest she lines it with leaves, twigs and feathers. Three to five eggs are laid per clutch from early May and incubated for 28 to 30 days by the female. Newly hatched chicks develop very quickly. They are raised solely by the hen. Young tragopans are extremely precocious, walking and feeding within a few hours of hatching and are able to fly just days later. Nevertheless the female remains with her chicks for about a month to six weeks, until they are able to feed themselves and are capable of flying to safety in trees. These birds will breed in their second year.


: Adapted for a primarily terrestrial existence, the feet and claws are large, reflecting use for scratching and digging. The short rounded wings are powered by strong breast muscles, allowing short, rapid bursts of flight as a means of escaping predators.

Threats to Survival

: In the wild their habitat is being invaded by humans and livestock. Over-grazing and understorey cutting is destroying and degrading many areas. These birds are also hunted for their colourful feathers. Efforts are being made to breed these birds in captivity. These birds were once kept in cages by the Chinese who saw in the wattle markings a resemblance to the ideogram for "long life".


: IUCN: Not Listed; CITES: Not Listed

Zoo Diet

: Romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, waterfowl breeder pellets, and oyster shell/insoluble grit.