Bird Type: Pheasants
Scientific name: Lophophorus impejanus
IUCN World Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN
This beautifully colourful pheasant is the national bird of Nepal.
The males are a spectacular combination of 12 iridescent colours whilst females are a duller, earthy brown. These birds will spend most of their day foraging for food on the forest floor, their long curved beaks make them excellent diggers and they can dig up to 10 inches under the ground. They are often found in pairs or small groups.
These beautiful birds are hunted both for food and for their feathers. It is hoped that through their status as a national bird, awareness of the species will be raised which will keep this bird safe in the future.
Native to the Himalayan regions of Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
The Himalayan monal is a high altitude species. It lives at heights of up to 4,000 feet during the summer season, inhabiting open, grassy slopes. During winter, this bird moves towards lower level forests of 2,000 feet, taking shelter in dense areas of bamboo and rhododendrons.
In the wild this bird enjoys a diet of seeds, fruits and insects.
Both the male and the female monal begin breeding at 2 years old. Breeding season lasts from April to June and they will lay 5 eggs per clutch. Females are solely responsible for the rearing of their young whilst the male defends the nest from predators.