email a friend
printable version
Blyth's Tragopan Tragopan blythii
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species qualifies as Vulnerable because its total population is believed to be small, declining and scattered in small subpopulations within a severely fragmented range. Widespread high levels of hunting and continuing habitat destruction will inevitably exacerbate this situation.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Male 65-70 cm, female 58-59 cm. Typical tragopan with distinctive, greyish lower breast and belly. Similar spp. Male differs from other tragopans by having a grey belly patch and, typically, yellow facial skin, although some males have been noted to have orange or red facial skin, perhaps owing to season and/or breeding condition, and possibly varying between subspecies. Female can be confused with Satyr Tragopan T. satyra and Temminck's Tragopan T. temminckii, but differs from both by yellowish eye-ring and paler, greyer belly, additionally from latter by less distinct pale spots and streaks on underparts. Juvenile initially like female, male gradually attains orange-red on neck during first year. Voice Male territorial call is loud, moaning ohh ohhah ohaah ohaaah ohaaaha ohaaaha ohaaaha.

Distribution and population
Tragopan blythii occurs from Bhutan, through Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur in north-east India, and north Myanmar, to south-east Tibet and north-west Yunnan, China (BirdLife International 2001). It has not been recorded since the early 1970s in Bhutan (S. Sherub in litt. 2012). Recent information suggests it is rare in most of India, though locally common at a few sites in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh (A. Rahmani in litt. 2012). It is uncommon or rare in the Chin Hills-Mt Victoria region of west Myanmar (T. Htin Hla in litt. 2007), where although it may have declined good evidence is lacking (J. C. Eames in litt. 2004). It is also locally uncommon on Mt Majed and Mt Emawbon in eastern Kachin State, Myanmar (T. Htin Hla in litt. 2007). Call counts detected 14 pairs in the 50 km2 Blue Mountain National Park, Mizoram.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining at a moderate rate, owing to widespread forest clearance, as well as hunting pressure in parts of its range.

It inhabits subtropical and temperate, evergreen oak and rhododendron forests, generally preferring a dense understorey, often dominated by bamboos or ferns, in steep or rocky terrain. Its documented altitudinal range is from 1,400 m (winter) up to 3,300 m (summer), but the majority of records come from a rather narrower band (1,800-2,400 m).

In north-east India, deforestation is a significant threat, primarily as a result of shifting cultivation. Together with fuelwood-collection and commercial timber extraction, this is rapidly fragmenting suitable habitat, even within protected areas, where enforcement of regulations is often absent or impossible. Hunting for food is the other major threat, particularly in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, where large-scale snaring of pheasants and partridges by local people is an increasing problem. The population in Arunachal Pradesh is under threat from hydroelectric project developments, and associated road-building and residential expansion (A. Rahmani in litt. 2012). Little data on the exploitation of this species is available from Myanmar, making it difficult to assess the severity of the threat there (J. C. Eames in litt. 2004). Even in Bhutan, high levels of grazing and slash-and-burn agriculture are potentially significant problems.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. The species is legally protected in all countries. It occurs in several protected areas, including: two small wildlife sanctuaries and a community reserve in Nagaland; the Blue Mountain National Park in Mizoram; Mouling National Park (A. Choudhury in litt. 2004), Sessa Orchid Sanctuary (Choudhury 2003), and Eaglenest Mehao and Dibang wildlife sanctuaries in Arunachal Pradesh; Thrumsing La National Park in Bhutan; Gaoligongshan National Park in China (Han Lianxian in litt. 2004), and Natma Taung National Park in Myanmar. Surveys for the species have been conducted in many areas in north-east India. An international studbook exists documenting the captive population held at locations in North America and Europe; however, recent analysis found the captive population is declining, ageing and highly inbred and requires new founders if it is not to be lost as a conservation resource for the species (St Jalme and Chavanne 2005). Work has since begun to move all of the captive birds in Europe to one location, and plans were in place to exchange birds between Europe and North America in an effort to introduce new blood lines to both populations (Jacken 2009).  Conservation Actions Proposed
Design and implement monitoring projects in Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. Initiate a conservation awareness programme with communities in range areas, focusing on the effects of over-exploitation, and encourage local tourism initiatives. Continue (or initiate) surveys to establish its distribution, status and habitat requirements in Myanmar, Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan, Yunnan and south-east Tibet. Use modern methods to study its ecology. Research the taxonomic status of the separate populations. Review the adequacy of the current protected areas system, to evaluate whether new areas in Myanmar, north-east India and south-east Tibet could be feasibly and usefully protected. Promote the careful management of existing captive populations and introduce new founders. Enforce laws preventing poaching and trade of the species (A. Rahmani in litt. 2012).

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Choudhury, A. 2003. Birds of Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Forktail 19: 1-13.

Jacken, H. 2009. Blyth's Tragopan: up and down - and up again? Annual Review of the World Pheasant Association 2008/2009: 20.

Keane, A.M.; Garson, P.J.; McGowan, P.J. K. in press. Pheasants: status survey and conservation action plan 2005-2009. IUCN and WPA, Gland, Switzerland.

King, B.; Geale, J.; Chatterjee, S. 2008. Recent observations of the East Himalayan subspecies of Blyth's Tragopan Tragopan blythii molesworthi. BirdingASIA: 96-97.

King, B.; Geale, J.; Chatterjee, S. 2009. Recent Blyth's Tragopan sightings in the Mishmi Hills of extreme northeastern India. World Pheasant Association News: 5.

Saint Jalme, M.; Chavanne, S. 2006. Does the Blyth's Tragopan have a future in captivity? Annual Review of the World Pheasant Association 2005/2006: 12.

Zeliang, D. K. 1980. Blyth's Tragopan breeding centre, Kohima Nagaland. In: Savage, C. (ed.), Pheasants in Asia 1979, pp. 88-91. World Pheasant Association, Exning, UK.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Keane, A., Taylor, J., Khwaja, N.

Choudhury, A., Eames, J.C., Ghose, D., Kumar, S., Lianxian, H., Pack-Blumenau, A., St Jalme, M., Zaw, U., Rahmani, A., Sherub, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Tragopan blythii. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Phasianidae (Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse)
Species name author (Jerdon, 1870)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 42,400 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species