Bharal (blue sheep)

Bharal (Pseudois nayaur)

Bharals, also known as blue sheep, have short, dense hair. Distinctive physical features are labeled on the pictures below. Females can be half to two-thirds the size of males. Young bharals are smaller and browner.

Bharal - adult male

Figure 1: Bharal - adult male

Bharal - adult female

Figure 2: Bharal - adult female

Relevance to snow leopard conservation:
Bharals are preferred prey for snow leopards.

Bharals move in herds of 10 or more, with males forming separate herds outside of mating season. They areĀ active during the daytime (diurnal).

Bharals are herbivores, eating grasses, leaves, mosses, and lichens.

Bharals live at elevation of 4,000 – 6,500 meters. They prefer bare, rocky hills above the tree line but below the snow line, where grass is abundant.

Animals that could be mistaken for this species:
While adult males’ horns and markings make them distinctive, females and young can look very similar to some domestic goats, and female and young ibex.

Images of bharals

These are images from our research cameras that CatCam visitors have identified as containing at least one bharal. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image


Gurung, K.K., & Singh, R. (1996). Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent: Where to watch mammals in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. London: Academic Press.

Schaller, G.B. (1998). Wildlife of the Tibetan Steppe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sterndale, R.A. (1982). Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon. New Delhi: Himalayan Books.