The fantasies of many a world birder are all too frequently centred around the numerous resplendent pheasants, including the 5 fabled Tragopan species that haunt the Himalayan ranges from Pakistan to China. These forest-dwelling pheasants are brilliantly colored, intricately patterned, emit evocative calls and are generally extremely shy and elusive. Their name Tragopan is a combination of the word “tragus”, meaning billy-goat, and Pan, the half-goat Greek deity, in reference to the concealed pair of brightly colored fleshy horns on the sides of all Tragopans’ heads. Our image of the month is the splendid Satyr Tragopan, so-named after Pan’s mythical troop of male companions known as “Satyrs”, and was photographed by Markus Lilje in brilliant Bhutan.
We have several upcoming tours which provide the opportunity of viewing many beautiful members of the pheasant family (Phasianidae) in the wild, along with numerous other exceptional species. These are our Bhutan tours (Birding the Buddhist Kingdom & Budget Bhutan Birding), which both target the incredible Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal and Blood Pheasant in their high altitude Himalayan range; our Myanmar tour, which seeks out the very tough-to-find Blyth’s Tragopan on the bird-rich Mt. Victoria, as well as Mountain Bamboo Partridge and Kalij and Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant; and our Northern India tour, which targets arguably the “King” of all the world’s pheasants – if not of birds in general – the incomparable Indian Peafowl! In fact, this is just one of a dozen possible pheasant-related species on this particular tour, which also targets Koklass and the rare Cheer Pheasant, Hill and Rufous-throated Partridge, Black Francolin, and Painted Spurfowl.
Other potential highlights on these various departures include White-bellied Heron, Ibisbill, Ward’s Trogon, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Beautiful Nuthatch and Himalayan Cutia in Bhutan; White-browed Nuthatch, Chin Hills Wren-Babbler, Jerdon’s Bush Chat, Burmese Yuhina, White-throated Babbler, Hooded Treepie and Jerdon’s Minivet in Myanmar; and Sarus Crane, Indian Skimmer, Painted Sandgrouse, Wallcreeper, Long-billed Thrush, Little Forktail, Chesnut-headed Tesia and Nepal Wren-Babbler in Northern India.
All these departures still have spaces available; for further information, click on the links above or contact our office.