Photo: Sergey Yeliseev/Flickr Creative Commons

Himalayan Snowcock

Tetraogallus himalayensis

Native to the Himalayan region of southern Asia, this huge grouse was introduced as a game bird in the Ruby Mountains of northern Nevada beginning in 1963. There it lives on steep and barren slopes above treeline, in remote areas that birders may visit only with a major effort. Small flocks of snowcocks often move uphill during the day, feeding as they go on roots, tubers, and seeds, and then glide down the slopes again in the evening. The nest is a simple scrape on the ground, often sheltered from wind by nearby rocks or grass clumps. Usually 4-6 eggs are laid, buffy to grayish, spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by the female, about 4 weeks. Young leave the nest shortly after they hatch; they are tended by both parents, but find all their own food.
Family Pheasants and Grouse
Native to the Himalayan region of southern Asia, this huge grouse was introduced as a game bird in the Ruby Mountains of northern Nevada beginning in 1963. There it lives on steep and barren slopes above treeline, in remote areas that birders may visit only with a major effort. Small flocks of snowcocks often move uphill during the day, feeding as they go on roots, tubers, and seeds, and then glide down the slopes again in the evening. The nest is a simple scrape on the ground, often sheltered from wind by nearby rocks or grass clumps. Usually 4-6 eggs are laid, buffy to grayish, spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by the female, about 4 weeks. Young leave the nest shortly after they hatch; they are tended by both parents, but find all their own food.
Photo Gallery
  • juvenile male, tame bird used in field experiments
  • adult



Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Songs and Calls
Displaying male gives loud, fluting whistle; also various chuckling clucks.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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