Himalayan Monal

(Lophophorus impejanus)




Facts about this animal

The Himalayan Monal is a large, sturdy pheasant with a total length of about 70 cm, including the tail of 23 cm. Males weigh about 2.0-2.4 kg, females 1.8 to 2.15 kg.

The head of the male is adorned with a long crest of spatulate feathers with naked shafts. Head and crest are metallic green with a patch of metallic purple behind the ear coverts. Lores and streak behind the eye are nearly bare. The sides of neck and nape are copper-bronze, the upper parts bronze-green, the lower back white and the rump purple. The under parts are brownish black or dull black glossed with green on breast and flanks. The shorter tail-coverts are purple, more or less glossed with green on margins. The longest tail-coverts are metallic green, the under tail-coverts metallic green with dark bases. The scapulars, adjacent wing coverts and innermost secondaries are purple, secondaries tipped metallic green-blue. The primaries and outer secondaries are dark brown, secondaries glossed green on margins.

The female, like in other pheasants, is dull in colour. The feathers of head and crest are black with central streaks and edges rufous buff. Chin, throat and foreneck are white. The feathers of back and mantle are black with two buff streaks and buff edges, on the lower back buff with black bars. The under parts are brown. he upper tail coverts are buff, the longest coverts white barred with black and rufous.

In both sexes the orbital skin and bare barts of the head are blue, the iris brown, the bill is horn-coloured, and the legs yellowish or pale brownish-green, rarely lead-grey. Immatures resemble the female.

Did you know?
that the male Himalayan Monal is one of the most admired of all pheasants, perhaps mainly because of the metallic gloss of ist brightly coloured plumage. In its courtship display, as performed by this bird, the golden orange tail is raised and spread, the purplish blue wings are lowered to such and extent that the feet and legs are completely hidden, the feathers of the mantle and neck are fluffed out, showing the beautiful metallic colours to their best advantage, and the long crest formed by a tuft of racket-shaped feathers, is erected. The bird holds this position for a few seconds, motionless apart from slight movements of the head which make the crest shimmer and quiver.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Lophophorus impejanus
Name (English) Himalayan Monal
Name (French) Lophophore resplendissant
Name (German) Himalaya-Glanzfasan
Name (Spanish) Monal Colirrojo
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Gerald Cubitt



Range Himalayas (Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Tibet, Burma(?)).
Habitat Inhabits open coniferous or mixed forests with rhododendron and bamboo, usually in steep valleys; also recorded in and around cultivation in some areas. Above the tree-line in summer, but down to 2500 m and lower in winter.
Wild population Not globally threatened. It is widely distributed species that is still common throughout its range in suitable habitat (Red List IUCN 2011).

In the Zoo

Himalayan Monal


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 16 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Himalayan Monal is an attractive bird, which is a good ambassador species for the conservation of Himalayan subalpine habitats. It is also kept for educational purposes as an example of the subalpine fauna of the Himalayan fauna, along with lesser pandas and Chinese muntjacs.