Bird of the Week: Himalayan Monal
'Oh my GOD, this bird looks fake.'
What a week, blech. Between the Hitler worship and the union-busting, these past five days have been woeful in the extreme. So we have no choice but to kick off the weekend by bringing you a nice, beautiful bird for Bird of the Week.
Meet….the Himalayan monal. And folks, it’s a showstopper.
BOOM. POW. THWACK. What a sock to the solar plexus! This is literally a bird with a rainbow on its back. I mean WOW.
To quote the great Elaine Benes: I am speechless. I am without speech.
Or, to quote the great Caitlin Schneider:
Fear not, Caitlin, the Himalayan monal is all too real!!! It resides, and here I am probably not going to surprise you, in the forests of the Himalayas, stretching from Pakistan all the way through to Bhutan. It eats mostly plants and some insects. And it’s very popular. The monal is both the official bird of the Indian state of Uttarakhand and the national bird of Nepal, where it’s known as the “danphe,” or “danfe,” depending on which website I’m looking at.
Now, you may think that “national bird” trumps “state bird,” and Nepal really is making a statement by bestowing this honor on the monal. (It’s also instantly vaulted to the top of my “countries with the best national birds” list; bald eagle? I don’t know her!!!!) But Uttarakhand showed its monal pride in 2018, when it selected the bird as the official mascot of that year’s Indian National Games, which is a sort of inter-Indian Olympics. Look at this!
From what I can tell, the games did not, uh, actually happen, but no matter. This guy rules.
Speaking of guys: another reason I like the Himalayan monal is that, though the female monal is less of a spectacle than the male, it has a killer look too:
Too often in nature, the female variety of the species gets a little bit short-changed in the dazzle stakes, but this one is glorious too. Bonus points!
OK, let’s do some videos. Here is the Himalayan monal just chilling in a tree. (Sample comment: “The beauty of this bird is just wow!”)
Here is a monal rooting around in the dirt with its beak (monals are EXCELLENT diggers).
Here is the monal doing quite a groovy mating dance. Check out that head and wing action! This bird stays on the beat.
And finally, here is a Himalayan monal just hanging out in the snow. So lovely.
OK, that’s it! Have a wonderful weekend.