Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Koklass Pheasant (Pucrasia macrolopha)


French: Eulophe koklass German: Koklasfasan Spanish: Faisán koklas

Satyra macrolopha


, 1829,

Almora Hills, Kumaon, India


Proposed race bethelae (from Kulu Valley, in NW India) is regarded as a clinal form of biddulphi. Many other races are regarded as intergrades, raising doubts about validity of subspecific taxonomy; a morph of darwini without chestnut band on underparts was considered a different race, “styani”. Some authors have divided subspecies into three geographically isolated groups each encompassing considerable variation, i.e. “Himalayan group”, including macrolopha, castanea, biddulphi (with bethelae) and nipalensis, “Golden-collared group”, with xanthospila, meyeri and ruficollis, and “Eastern group”, including darwini and joretiana; whether these have any taxonomic significance remains to be seen. Nine subspecies usually recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. castanea Gould, 1855 – E Afghanistan E to adjacent Pakistan (Chitral).
  • P. m. biddulphi G. F. L. Marshall, 1879 – N Pakistan and N India (to W Himachal Pradesh).
  • P. m. macrolopha (Lesson, 1829) – W Himalayas, from C Himachal Pradesh E to W Nepal.
  • P. m. nipalensis Gould, 1855 – WC Nepal.
  • P. m. meyeri Madarász, 1886 – SC China (W & SW Sichuan E to NW Yunnan); extinct in SE Tibet.
  • P. m. ruficollis David & Oustalet, 1877 – C China (S Gansu, S Shaanxi and W Sichuan).
  • P. m. xanthospila G. R. Gray, 1864 – NE China (Shaanxi NE through W Hebei and SE Inner Mongolia to SW Manchuria).
  • P. m. joretiana Heude, 1883 – CE China (SW Anhui).
  • P. m. darwini Swinhoe, 1872 – C & E China (Hubei and SE Sichuan E to Zhejiang and Fujian); extinct in NW Fujian and N Guangdong.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 58–64 cm (tail 22–28 cm), 1135–1415 g; female 52·5–56 cm (tail 17–19·5 cm), 930–1135 g. Medium sized pheasant with... read more


    Territorial call, given from arboreal perch around dawn (typically for period of up to 50 minutes... read more


    Coniferous and mixed forests in steep terrain, down to 1600 m in winter (in Pakistan), and as high... read more

    Food and feeding

    Rarely seen foraging because flushes so quickly, but produces deep feeding scrapes on forest floor. Believed to eat variety of seeds,... read more


    Calling at dawn (lasting 5–50 minutes depending on season) heard Nov–Jun. Presumed to be monogamous based on frequency of which... read more


    In Himachal Pradesh (NW India), downslope movements of 1000 m have been recorded in winter. It is... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: nipalensis/macrolopha/castanea/biddulphi/bethelae safe; joretiana/... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Koklass Pheasant (Pucrasia macrolopha). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 8 December 2019).