Golden Pheasant

          The most popular of the Ornamental Pheasants to keep in an aviary is undoubtedly the Golden Pheasant. It is not difficult to see why as the colours of this bird are dazzling. With scarlet, bright yellow and orange, a deep royal blue and a rich dark green with some of the feathers edged in a velvety black the Golden Pheasant is one of the world’s most colourful creatures. The adult male is 90–105 cm in length, its tail accounting for two-thirds of the total length. It is unmistakable with its golden crest and rump and bright red body. The deep orange "cape" can be spread in display, appearing as an alternating black and orange fan that covers all of the face except its bright yellow eye with a pinpoint black pupil. Males have a golden-yellow crest with a hint of red at the tip. The face, throat, chin, and the sides of neck are rusty tan. The wattles and orbital skin are both yellow in colour, and the ruff or cape is light orange. The upper back is green and the rest of the back and rump is golden-yellow. The tertiaries are blue whereas the scapulars are dark red. Other characteristics of the male plumage are the central tail feathers, black spotted with cinnamon, as well as the tip of the tail being a cinnamon buff. The upper tail coverts are the same colour as the central tail feathers. The male also has a scarlet breast, and scarlet and light chestnut flanks and underparts. Lower legs and feet are a dull yellow.

The female (hen) is much less showy, with a duller mottled brown plumage similar to that of the female Common Pheasant. She is darker and more slender than the hen of that species, with a proportionately longer tail (half her 60–80 cm length). The female's breast and sides are barred buff and blackish brown, and the abdomen is plain buff. She has a buff face and throat. Some abnormal females may later in their lifetime get some male plumage. Lower legs and feet are a dull yellow. Both males and females have yellow legs and yellow bills. They feed on the ground on grain, leaves and invertebrates, but they roost in trees at night. While they can fly, they prefer to run. If startled, they can suddenly burst upwards at great speed and with a distinctive wing sound.

     As well the outstanding colour the Golden Pheasant can easily become tame. They may not like to be cuddled but, with a little patience, most birds will learn to eat from your hand and they may well hop up onto a lap or an arm.The Golden Pheasant is extremely hardy and easy to look after. Although a shelter is needed this can be very basic without added heat. They enjoy a varied diet which means they are quite easily satisfied with all sorts of seed, nuts, fruit and vegetables and although not a necessity live food would certainly be relished.If adding plants to the aviary Golden Pheasants will enjoy a nibble but they are not as destructive as many other birds and most plants in a reasonable sized aviary will still manage to thrive.

Natural Distribution : Central China; introduced to Britain.
Habitat : Rocky hills covered with bamboo and other scrub.
Diet : Seeds, leaves, tender shoots (bamboos), insects


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