a genus of large birds of the family Phasiani-dae. The body, which measures 50–70 cm in length, is compact, and the legs are strong. Males have a short spur. Members of the genus are distributed at high elevations in the Caucasus, Southern Siberia, Asia Minor, and Middle and Central Asia. There are five species, all of which are represented in the USSR: the Caucasian snow pheasant (T. caucasicus), in the Glavnyi Range in the Caucasus; the Caspian snow cock (T. caspius), in Armenia and the Kopetdag; the Himalayan snow cock (T. himalayensis), in the Tien-Shan and Pamir-Alai; the Altai snow cock (T. altaicus), in the Altai and Saian ranges; and the Tibetan snow cock (T. tibetanus), in the eastern Pamir.
The best-known species is the Himalayan snow cock, the male of which weighs up to 3 kg. The plumage is similar for males and females—a claylike gray color with small black speckles and chestnut stripes on the sides and neck. The species inhabits meadows in the subalpine and alpine zones of mountains, spending the night among the rocks. After heavy snow it migrates to elevations of 1,500–2,000 m. The birds are monogamous and nest on the ground. There are five or six eggs in a clutch. The birds brood about 30 days. Adult birds feed on shoots, buds, flowers, seeds, and bulbs, while the young feed on insects. The Himalayan snow cock is hunted for sport.
A. I. IVANOV