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A photo of a Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus), male
Golden Pheasant, Male

Golden Pheasant

Chrysolophus pictus

The Golden Pheasant, or Chrysolophus pictus, is a resplendent bird belonging to the pheasant family. Its name reflects its regal bearing and the lustrous, golden crest adorning its head. The male is particularly striking with a bright red body and a cape that, when displayed, reveals an eye-catching pattern of black and orange. The female, while more subdued in color, has her own elegance with mottled brown plumage.

Identification Tips

Males are unmistakable with their golden crest and rump, red body, and orange 'cape'. Their face is a contrasting rusty tan, and they have a bright yellow eye with a black pupil. The green upper back transitions to a golden-yellow on the lower back and rump. Females are less colorful, resembling the common pheasant but with a longer tail and a buff face and throat.

Habitat

These birds are native to the mountainous forests of western China, but have been introduced to various other regions where they inhabit similar forested environments.

Distribution

Beyond their native range in China, Golden Pheasants have established feral populations across the globe, including the United Kingdom, parts of Europe, and North and South America.

Behaviour

Golden Pheasants are ground feeders by day and roost in trees at night. They are known to forage near human settlements in winter and exhibit a preference for running over flying, which they do in short, clumsy bursts.

Song & Calls

The male Golden Pheasant emits a metallic call during the breeding season, which is part of its courtship display.

Breeding

Females lay clutches of 8 to 12 eggs and incubate them for approximately 22-23 days.

Similar Species

The Lady Amherst's pheasant is similar in appearance but can be distinguished by differences in coloration and pattern.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet consists of grain, leaves, and invertebrates. In winter, they often feed on wheat leaves and seeds.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Golden Pheasant as Least Concern, indicating that it currently faces no significant threats to its survival.

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Golden Pheasant Fun Facts

Did you know?
Golden Pheasants aren't good flyers and prefer to flee predators by running.

Golden Pheasants on Birda

Sightings

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