Blue sheep

Pseudois nayaur TAXONOMY

Ovis nayaur (Hodgson, 1833), Tibetan frontier, Nepal. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Bharal; French: Bharal, bouc bleu; German: Blauschaf; Spanish: Baral.


Head and body length is 47-55 in (120-140 cm); weight 132-165 lb (60-75 kg) in males, 77-121 lb (35-55 kg) in females. Horns of males are smooth and curve up, out, then back. Females have short, rather stout horns. Coat color is gray to slate gray in winter, and a sandy tint in summer. Males have a black line along the flanks, a black chest and throat. Both sexes have a black front surface to the legs with white knees.


The whole of the Tibetan Plateau and bordering ranges. Range extends from the Karakoram Mountains of northeastern Pakistan along the northern side of the Himalaya, penetrating to the southern side of the range in a few places, and northeastwards into Inner Mongolia.


Rugged mountains, isolated ridges, and broken rocky terrain, with cliffs for escape. Recorded above 21,500 ft (6,500 m) in the Himalaya and Karakoram Mountains.


Diurnal, with activity peaks in early morning and late afternoon. Mixed herds are seen all year and all-male groups are more common in summer.


Diet includes a range of grasses, sedges, herbs, and shrubs, and may be supplemented in winter by twigs, mosses, and lichens.


Polygamous. Males fight for females at the rut, rising on their hindlegs before clashing heads. The rut takes place in December-January, and gestation lasts about 160 days.


Some populations are declining, others are stable. Regarded overall as not threatened.


Traditionally hunted for meat by local peoples. Commercially hunted in parts of China and meat exported. Limited sport hunting program established in Nepal. ♦

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