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ZSI confirms sighting rare Satyr Tragopan after 170 years

The male Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan Satyra) is one of the most beautiful birds in India and also of the rarest

SNS | Kolkata |

Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) scientists have confirmed that the unique avian species, first spotted by the forest department in Darjeeling during November-December, last year is the crimson horned pheasant or Satyr Tragopan, and has been re-discovered after a gap of almost 170 years.

Dhriti Banerjee, director of Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata confirmed this development and has informed that the rediscovery of the crimson-horned pheasant after a period of almost 170 years in the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary landscape is encouraging news as it indicates that the forested habitats are well preserved and effectively managed.

“The male Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan Satyra) is one of the most beautiful birds in India and also of the rarest and is best seen in Neora Valley National Park of Darjeeling district, though there are few in Singalila National Park also in the same district,” the ZSI scientists added.

Males are bright crimson red with white spots, females are smaller and less conspicuous and brown in colour. Tragopans are also called ‘horned pheasants’ because they display horn-like projects during courtship. Like other Tragopans, the Satyr is faced with habitat destruction and hunting pressure and is now considered to be near threatened.

These birds reside in moist oak and rhododendron forests with dense underground bamboo clumps. The satyr tragopan was first sighted and reported by Hickell in 1842 between the present Kurseong and Sonada region of the present Darjeeling district. It was locally called ‘munal’.