Most people associate the word pheasant with the common ring-necked pheasant. However, the Satyr Tragopan, which is also a pheasant, is not a very common breed, but is very mysterious and beautiful.
The Satyr Tragopan, which is from the species Tangopan satyra, also goes by the name 'crimson-horned pheasant'. Another name that this bird is known by is 'horned pheasant'. This is because, when this bird is going through its courtship ritual in the hopes that its mate will accept it, the males erect two little colorful and fleshy horns which are on the top of its head.
This beautiful bird can be found in the Himalayan areas in places like India, Nepal, and Bhutan. It loves to live in moist oak and rhododendron forests which have thick undergrowth. This provides it with a lot of cover from predators. They live in forests that are 8,000 to 14,000 feet high in the summer and around 6,000 feet high in the winter.
This bird has lappets and horns which it inflates with air. It can grow from 68 to 72 cm, and can weigh up to 4lbs. The male is gorgeous-looking. He has a back that is almost completely brown, a black head, and a black tail. The thing that makes him stand out is his deep ruby-red chest. The red starts on his neck, covering the base of his wings, and going all the way down to cover his belly. One other thing that makes him stand apart is the ocelli (eyelike markings) that cover his whole body. His head has a crown of red feathers with just a bit of royal-blue showing through.
When the mating season starts and the courtship ritual begins, the male shakes his head and goes into a dance that any female who is watching will not be able to resist. He will bow over and over again, with his wings spread and his lappet and horns inflated. It is quite a sight and is not something that can be easily forgotten.
Unlike other pheasant hens, the female of the Satyr Tragopan clan will lay her eggs in a nest that has been elevated. This is probably done to keep the babies safe from predators. She will lay about four eggs in one sitting, and will incubate and raise them into a bunch of healthy chicks.
Although this species is not endangered, it does face some threats. It already has a low population, which is further subject to hunting and loss of habitat due to deforestation and other issues.