Himalayan Monal / Impeyan Pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus) belongs to Galliformes order and Phasianidae family. It is the national bird of Nepal. The species prefers alpine and sub-alpine areas in steep grassy and open rocky slopes and the adjacent forest during summer and descends to lower altitudes in rhododendron forest during winter, especially in times of heavy snow fall. The species is reported to be polygamous; males can be seen with more than one female. The bird is usually quite shy and flushes at a considerable distance. When flushed, the birds take to wing emitting a loud call sounding like pi-pi-pi. It digs for tubers with powerful bill, often remaining in one spot for half an hour or more. A dozen of cocks can be seen digging under the trees and open lands in the early morning. Terrestrial insects and tubers forms are the chief food. The bird is usually seen digging for tubers and roots, which seem to form their main diet in addition to grass roots and seeds, berries, mosses, insects and grubs. Eggs are laid in rudimentary nests on ground during May-June, generally under boulders and are 4-6 (sometime 2-3) in number. Incubation period is 28 days (but some time 26-29 days). The nest is a simple scrape, often under the shelter of a bush, a rock, or in the hole of some large tree. Himalayan Monal is native to Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. In Nepal it is fairly common widespread resident subject to vertical movements between from 3300-4750m in summer and down to 2500m in winter. This bird is reported from all Himalayan protected areas: Makalu Barun, Sagarmatha, Langtang, Shey Phoksundo, Khaptad and Rara National Parks; Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve; Kanchenjungha, Gaurishankar, Manaslu, Annapurna and Api Nampa Conservation Areas. The main threats to the species arise from hunting and trapping for local consumption especially during winter, when the bird descends to lower altitudes, closer to human habitations. Hunting and trapping by shepherds and poachers during and after monsoon cannot be ignored. It is also killed for its plumes. The world population is unknown but the Nepal population is estimated between 3500 and 5000 individuals. The bird is Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Global Red list category but the regional IUCN status is Near Threatened (NT) for Nepal. The legal status of this species in Nepal is Protected (Appendix I) under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973 and Appendix I in CITES law.
For more Information:- Inskipp et al. 2016.