Golden Pheasant Fact File
The male golden pheasant is one of the world’s most colourful birds. They have a body which is gold across the head (including the wattles) and back with an underside which is red. In between these two sections is a stripe of blue. Across the shoulder is a black and orange striped ‘cape.’
The tail accounts for up to two thirds of their tail length and is coloured black with spots of cinnamon and the end Is cinnamon.
Females by comparison are much duller with their feathers being brown with dark bands and a tail which is about half of their length that is coloured similar to their body. The drab colour of the female is an adaptation which helps them to blend in. This is important when they are incubating eggs and do want to move around.
The legs and beak of both genders is yellow as is the eye of the male. The female’s eye is black.
Their body length is 60-110cm (23.5-43in) long and they weigh an average of 550-700g (19.5-25oz).
The golden pheasant is an omnivore. The eat a range of leaves, green shoots, grains, seeds, berries and invertebrates.
Feeding takes place on the ground where they peck food up much like a chicken.
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Asia is the native home of the golden pheasant. Here they are found in central and southern China.
Introduced populations of these birds exist in a number of countries such as the United Kingdom.
The natural habitat of the golden pheasant is mountainous and forested areas along with shrubland. These areas typically feature sparse undergrowth.
The golden pheasant breeding season varies based on their habitat but typically starts in April.
Dominant males will display their colourful feathers to the female. The cape is able to come up over their face and cover all but their eye as part of this display. They also make a loud, crowing call which attracts females.
A number of males may gather in the same area and display to a female to compete for mating rights. Males will fiercely defend their mating ground against other males.
Following a successful mating the female will form a nest in the undergrowth where she lays between 5 and 12 eggs. These are incubated by the female for 22 days.
Following hatching the chicks will follow the mother around and start to peck at food. They can fledge in as few as 12-14 day’s.
They are sexually mature at between 1 and 2 years old.
The golden pheasant is not particularly good at flight. They spend most of their time on the ground. At night time they will roost up a tree away from predators.
They make a wide range of calls to indicate their presence, for mating and to raise an alarm in the presence of danger. This call sounds like ‘chack chack.’
Predators and Threats
Humans are the main predator of golden pheasants.
Populations of the golden pheasant are slowly decreasing. While there is still a substantial population of these birds in their native range the population continues to decline as a result of logging, hunting for food and capture for the pet bird trade.
Purebred birds are becoming less common in captivity as they inbreed with Lady Amherst’s Pheasants.
The scientific name of the golden pheasant translates as ‘painted bird with a golden crest.’
If exposed to the sun for long periods of time the golden pheasant can lose their bright colours. The dense forests which they live in protect their colours.
In their native range the golden pheasant is seen as symbol of good luck and prosperity.
Used under license
Ambrose, J., 2015. Wildlife Of The World. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley,
Christiansen, P. 2019. Birds. 2nd Ed. London: Amber Books Ltd.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Chrysolophus pictus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/06/2020Seaworld.org. 2020.
Golden Pheasant Facts And Information | Seaworld Parks & Entertainment. [online] Available at: <https://seaworld.org/animals/facts/birds/golden-pheasant/> [Accessed 4 June 2020].
Perth Zoo. 2020. Golden Pheasant. [online] Available at: <https://perthzoo.wa.gov.au/animal/golden-pheasant> [Accessed 4 June 2020].
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