The Koklass Pheasant: A Majestic Bird with Maroon Brilliance
Meet the Koklass Pheasant (Pucrasia macrolopha), a captivating gamebird closely related to the grouse family. The males of this species are truly a sight to behold, boasting a silver-plumed body adorned with a striking maroon breast stripe.
The male Koklass Pheasant is a substantial bird, measuring between 58 to 64 cm in length, with a tail spanning 22 to 28 cm. They typically weigh between 1135 to 1415 grams. In contrast, the females are slightly smaller, measuring 52.5 to 56 cm in length, with a tail size of 17 to 19.5 cm, and weighing between 930 to 1135 grams. The males exhibit a striking appearance with a bottle-green head, prominent ear tufts, a chestnut-colored breast, and a streaked body.
Both males and females of the Koklass Pheasant are medium-sized, sporting fully feathered faces. The females, however, have a white throat, short buff ear tufts, and a streaked body. In both sexes, the tail is wedge-shaped.
The Koklass Pheasant is a medium-sized and elusive bird primarily found in high-altitude forests. Their range extends from Afghanistan to central Nepal, and they can also be located in northeastern Tibet as well as northern and eastern China.
This species primarily inhabits coniferous and mixed forests situated in steep terrain. They often roost in trees and can be found at altitudes ranging from 1600 meters to 4000 meters.
Their diet consists of a diverse range of foods, including seeds, acorns, berries, buds, insects, and worms. While loose flocks are known to form in winter, they are generally observed as solitary individuals or in pairs. Their foraging activity is most active during the early morning and late afternoon.
Breeding for the Koklass Pheasant typically occurs between April and June in the Himalayas. Their nests are scrapes in the ground, situated under dense cover, and are lined to some extent with twigs and leaves. Clutches usually consist of 5 to 7 eggs, and the incubation period, which lasts for 26 to 27 days, is carried out solely by the female.
In terms of conservation status, the Koklass Pheasant is currently categorized as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. This designation is a testament to their adaptability and stable population. These majestic birds continue to thrive in the high-altitude forests of Asia, adding to the region’s rich biodiversity and natural beauty.