The Golden Pheasant is without a doubt the most beautiful bird on the planet earth. Golden Pheasant is a gamebird of the Phasianidae family. They are also known as the Chinese pheasant and rainbow pheasant. These birds are one of the most colorful, popular, and flamboyant species of pheasants in the world.
The Golden pheasant is one of only two species in the genus Chrysolophus. They along with Lady Amherst Pheasant, make up the group of ‘Ruffed Pheasants’ named for their ruff which is spread across their face and neck. The Golden Pheasant is particularly named after the male’s golden crest.
Native to forests in mountainous areas of western China but they are now introduced in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Germany. The Golden Pheasant was introduced to the United Kingdom around 100 years ago.
Quick 10 facts about Golden pheasants:
1. Males are more colorful and bigger than females.
2. They are very rare and elusive.
3. Golden Pheasants are native to forests in mountainous regions of China.
4. They are primarily terrestrial birds. Though they are capable of short, fast bursts of flight.
5. The Golden Pheasant is listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN.
6. Males and females often form monogamous pairs.
7. The life span of a Golden Pheasant is 5 – 6 years.
8. The Golden pheasants are susceptible to bleaching if they are exposed to the sun for long periods.
9. They are also known as the Chinese pheasant and Rainbow pheasant.
10. Male Golden Pheasants can be easily identified by their bright red, gold, blue, and orange coloring.
Golden Pheasant Appearance
This is the most important trait of these birds because their appearance is stunning. They are one of the most beautiful birds in the world. However, some people might disagree and say that the Impeyan pheasants, Chinese monal, and Horned pheasants are more beautiful. In the end, beauty is in the eye of the beholder you can have a different opinion.
The Male Golden Pheasants can be easily identified by their elaborate bright coloring. There are so many bright colors with different variations.
They have a golden crest tipped with red which extends from the top of their heads, down their necks. Their golden crest and rump along can be with other bold colors including mahogany, blue, purple, yellow, and black.
They have bright red underparts, dark-colored wings, and a pale brown, long, barred tail. They have a body that is gold or yellow across the head including the wattles. The wattles and orbital skin are both yellow, and the ruff or cape is light orange. In between the sections are stripes of blue.
The central tail feathers are black spotted with cinnamon, as well as the tip of the tail being a cinnamon buff. The upper tail coverts are the same color as the central tail feathers. The male also has a scarlet breast, and scarlet and light chestnut flanks and underparts.
On the other hand, the females are not as colorful as the males. They have a duller mottled brown or black plumage similar to that of female common pheasant. Females also have short tails. They have a mottled brown plumage, pale brown face, throat, breast, and sides, pale yellow feet, and are more slender.
Golden Pheasant Size
Male and female Golden Pheasants look different in size. The adult male is 90–110 cm (35–44 in) in length, with its tail accounting for two-thirds of the total length. They have a wingspan is around 70 cm and they weigh around 400-700 grams. Females are slightly smaller measuring 60 – 80 cm in length with the tail making up half of the total length.
Golden Pheasant Behavior
Despite being so colorful they are elusive. They are shy and surprisingly difficult to find in the dense forest. Therefore relatively little is known about the behavior of these beautiful Golden Pheasant birds. However, their courtship would be hard to miss.
The Golden pheasant has an elaborate courtship display. They approach the female with a high-pitched metallic sound, seemingly pulling out all the stops to impress. The male dances for the female expanding his neck feathers out across his beak to reveal an elaborate striping pattern of alternating colors.
Females generally lay about 8-12 golden-brown eggs that take about 22 days to hatch. They feed on the ground on grain, leaves, and insects.
Golden Pheasants are fearful birds and will hide in dark dense forests during the day and rest in very high trees during the night. The best time to possibly observe a Golden Pheasant is very in the morning when they may be seen in clear view.
They are primarily terrestrial birds, although they have the ability to fly short distances. They spend most of their time on the forest floor, though they are capable of short, fast bursts of flight.
Golden Pheasant Lifespan
The life span of a Golden Pheasant is 5 – 6 years. In the wild, they can live more than 5 years, although most won’t make it to the age of 3 because of hunting. However, in captivity, some individuals have been known to live for more than 10 years.
Conservation and Status
They are one of the most beautiful of all pheasant species that’s why people keep them in captivity. In China, Golden pheasants have been kept in captivity for more than 300 years.
Despite the fact that they are listed as “Least Concern” by the IUCN, their population is declining. The reason for declining is due to timber extraction, pet bird trade, and overhunting for food.