Meet Colorful Himalayan Monal, The King of the High Mountains

Join us in our article today, as we are so proud to introduce to you one of the most beautiful flying creatures in the sky. Over the lofty mountains of the Himalayas, the majestic Himalayan Monal is definitely a true monarch! With its strikingly vibrant plumage and regal presence, this bird is a living work of art, gracing the skies with its breathtaking beauty.

Source: Arindam Saha

The Himalayan Monal is a member of the pheasant family and is celebrated as the national bird of Nepal. Its name, Monal,” is derived from the Hindi word “Monāl,” reflecting the bird’s significance in the cultural fabric of the region.

Meet Colorful Himalayan Monal, The King of the High Mountains

It is a relatively large-sized pheasant. The bird is about 70 cm (28 in) long. The male weighs up to 2,380 g (84 oz) and the female 2,150 g (76 oz). Regarding their plumages, the adult male has multicolored plumage throughout, while the female, as in other pheasants, is more subdued in color.

Source: Peter Ericsson

Source: peteris_e

Notable features in the male include a long, metallic green crest, coppery feathers on the back and neck, and a prominent white rump that is most visible when the bird is in flight. The tail feathers of the male are uniformly rufous, becoming darker towards the tips, whereas the lower tail coverts of females are white, barred with black and red. The female has a prominent white patch on the throat and a white strip on the tail. The first-year male and the juvenile resemble the female, but the first-year male is larger and the juvenile is less distinctly marked.

Source: Peter Stubbs

These magnificent animals can soar at heights of up to 15,000 feet from Pakistan to India, Bhutan, and China, firmly establishing their status as the lords of the high mountains. However, these birds can usually be found between 2,400 and 4,500 m (7,900 and 14,800 ft) in upper temperate oak-conifer forests with open grassy slopes, cliffs, and alpine meadows. During the winter, it drops to 2,000 m (6,600 ft). It tolerates snow and digs through it to obtain plant roots and invertebrate prey.

Source: Chandramouli Ganguly

The primary foods consumed by Himalayan monals are tubers, nuts, tender leaves, shoots, insects, and other invertebrates. And for shoots and invertebrates, these birds often excavate in the snow. Although invertebrate matter was present in small amounts, plant matter made up a significant portion of their diet.

Source: Rajesh Panwar

In some areas, the Himalayan monal is threatened due to poaching and other anthropogenic factors. In the western Himalayas, the number of Himalayan Monal responded negatively to human disturbances involving hydroelectric power development. However, the species is not considered endangered in Pakistan and can be easily located. In some areas, the population density of the species can even be as high as five pairs per square mile. According to Sienctiest, the main threat to the species is poaching, as the crest is valuable. People hunt these birds because it is thought that they can bring status to their wearer and are a symbol of authority.

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