• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Himalayan Snowcock - BirdForum Opus

Adult male, subspecies himalayensis
Photo by Rajiv Lather
near Chang La Pass, Ladakh, India.
Tetraogallus himalayensis


54–72 cm (21¼-28½ in)

  • Grey, brown, white and black general plumage
  • Pale has horizontal blackish streaking
  • White throat
  • Thin brown collar (unique to the genus)


Native to the Himalayas. A small (several hundred) population was introduced into the Ruby Mountains of ne Nevada, USA, and is apparently thriving.



Five subspecies are recognized:[1]

  • T. h. sewerzowi - Tien Shan mountain range to north-western China
  • T. h. incognitus - South Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan
  • T. h. himalayensis - East Afgahnistan to north-western India and Nepal
  • T. h. grombezewskii - Kunlun mountain range in West China to northern Tibet and southern Xinjiang
  • T. h. koslowi - West China in the Nam Shan and Ching Hai Ku mountain ranges

The subspecies T. h. koslowi is relatively distinct and has in the past been viewed as a full species.


In the Himalaya, it breeds at altitudes from 3600-5100 m on bare stony slopes of mountains.



Small flocks fly downhill in the morning, foraging systematically uphill as the day progresses. Diet bulbous roots, tubers, berries and grass.


They are monogamous and territorial. They nests in a depression amongst grass tufts. Their clutch typically contains 5-10 eggs, which are incubated only by the female. Both parents raise the young.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved May 2019)
  3. Birdforum thread discussing the taxonomy of Himalayan Snowcock

External Links