Himalayan monal

It’s dazzling plumage has earned it the nickname “nine-colored bird” in some cultures

Hari K Patibanda

A strikingly beautiful bird that inhabits the high-altitude forests and meadows of the Himalayas. Revered for its vibrant plumage and graceful presence, the Himalayan monal is the national bird of Nepal and holds cultural significance in various regions. 

The Himalayan monal is a large, pheasant-like bird, with males being particularly colorful and eye-catching. It is known for its iridescent plumage, which displays a dazzling array of colors. Its head features a bright green crest, its neck and chest are metallic blue, its back is a mix of golden and bronze hues, and its tail is a striking combination of white and copper. In contrast, the female is more subdued in coloration, with a brownish-black plumage that provides excellent camouflage in the forest underbrush.

It inhabits the forests and alpine meadows of the Himalayas, typically at elevations ranging from 7,000 to 15,000 feet. They are found in countries such as Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Tibet. These birds prefer cool, moist environments with plenty of cover, such as rhododendron and conifer forests. They are ground-dwelling birds, spending much of their time foraging for food on the forest floor. They are known for their strong legs and feet, which they use to dig through leaf litter and soil in search of food. Although they are capable of short flights, they prefer to run and walk to escape predators.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2016
Seasonality Uncertain
Bhutan
2016
China
2016
India
2016
Myanmar
2016
Nepal
2016
Pakistan
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No