Satyr Tragopan Pheasant

Tragopan satyra

Satyr Tragopan Pheasants live in heavily wooded areas of the Himalayas and as such enjoy a part of their aviary to be shaded. They are definitely not sun worshippers and will seek out refuge under trees and shrubs or their shelter during the brightest days.

The Satyr Tragopan is a heavy bird, the cock is around 4lbs in weight. He has a dark brown back with a mostly black head and black on the end of his tail. However he also has a glorious deep red breast. The red stretches right up over the neck and the base of his wings and covers his belly. To add to this his body is covered with lots of white ocelli edged in black. There are some red feathers on the crown and a glimpse of bright blue can be seen on or around the face. The hen is similar to ther Tragopan hens and hybridisation is common. The Satyr hen should be larger than both the Temminck's and Cabot's Tragopan hens. She has small, neat, lanceolate, markings and is likely to be a little more uniform in colour than the other female Tragopans. She may also have a darker face than the others but this is not always the case. There may be a reddish colouring on the bend of the wing which is absent in the other species and is a good sign of a "pure" bird.

Like all the Tragopan species the Satyr cock is a highly unusual creature with inflatable lappets and horns which are put to use during the breeding season for the benefit of his mate. As the breeding season approaches more of his blue facial skin will become visible and often he will give a shake of his head and his colourful bib will "fall" partly down. Once into the swing of things, if he is in the mood for more he will start a pronounced nodding of his head. This will become faster and faster and will coincide with a pumping noise as well as clicking sounds. He will crouch low with his wings spread and flapping and finally leap out at the hen (usually from behind a rock or other suitable obstruction he will almost completely, but not quite, be concealing himself with) rushing towards her at full height and speed with wings outspread and his, bright blue and scarlet, lappet and horns completely extended he'll stand quivering next to her until very suddenly the show is over and he'll either chance copulation or wait and try again later.

The Satyr hen will start to lay usually at the beginning of April. She can lay about 12 eggs in the season (around 4 eggs in a clutch). Unlike many pheasants she will prefer to lay in an elevated nestbox. Incubation normally takes 29 - 30 days.

All the tragopans are great birds to keep as long as you have sufficient space for them. We keep our Satyrs in pens with an area of 432 square feet (24' X 18' or 36' x 12'). This is mainly to give them plenty of vegetation to eat. They love eating their greens as well as fruit and flowers. They are not diggers however so the plants do have a good chance of survival if plenty are planted and they get the opportunity to become established before the birds are introduced to the pen, or are at least protected while they are still small.

Satyrs are not flighty birds in fact they become very tame and will wait patiently by the gate every morning for you to come and feed them. They will delicately peck the food from your hand and then proceed to gulp down enormous chunks of fruit that look like they could not possibly fit down the bird's throat. They are easy to look after and perfectly hardy. A truly wonderful bird all round.

pair Satyr Tragopan Pheasants Satyr Tragopan Pheasant cock Satyr Tragopan Pheasant cock
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