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Yellow Golden Pheasant Pair (Click to Order)
The Yellow Golden, also known as the Ghigi's Golden, is a popular color mutation of the Golden Pheasant occuring in captivity. The Yellow Golden is not a recognized subspecies of the Golden and I have found no reports of any ever seen in the wild. In my opinion, this is the most striking of the mutations. The obvious difference is the color, with yellow replacing the red. The male has retained the dark green mantle from the original form. The blue of the wings has been replaced with brown while the crest and ruff are the same as the normal golden. The tail is pale brown spotted with light yellow. The hen is pale yellow all over with gray barring.
This mutation has its origins in Italy when the late Professor Alessandro Ghigi was presented with one male in 1952. Initial breedings were with a normal hen and normal heterozygous chicks were produced. The heterozygous females were then bred back to the mutant male. By the middle of the 1950s, the yellow mutants were breeding true.
The Yellow Golden was quite expensive when first brought to America in the early 1960s, but now they are reasonably priced, very popular and common in aviaries. Be sure to allow plenty of shade, as the brillant yellow will fade to a dull shade of buff if exposed to direct sunlight.
Red Golden Pheasant Pair (Click to Order)
The Golden Pheasant is one of the most popular of all pheasant species kept in captivity. It is very beautiful, hardy, easy to keep and great for beginners. The Golden has been kept in captivity since as early as 1740 and perhaps was the first type of pheasant brought to North America. There is evidence that George Washington may have kept them at Mt. Vernon! For being so well known and familiar in captivity, very little is known of their habits in the wild, in the mountains of central China.
This species, along with the Lady Amherst Pheasant (C. amherstiae), make up the group of pheasants called the Ruffed Pheasants, genus Chrysolophus. They are named for their cape or ruff which they spread around their face and neck during courtship. Since these two species are so closely related, many breeders have crossed them, making "pure" Goldens and Amhersts hard to find in captivity.
The wild form of the Golden is often called the Red Golden in captivity, and the males are one of the most brilliantly colored of all birds. The adult males should have a full, silky golden-yellow crest with perhaps a slight tinge of red at the tip. The face, throat, chin and the sides of the neck are rusty tan; the wattles and orbital skin are yellow. The ruff or cape is a pale fulvous to a light orange, with each feather with a bluish-black border. The upper back is green and the rest of the back and rump is a golden-yellow. The breast is scarlet; the flanks and underparts are scarlet changing into a light chestnut. The tertiaries of the wing are blue and the scapulars are dark red. The central tail feathers are black, spotted with cinnamon and the tip of the tail cinnamon buff. The upper tail coverts are the same color as the central tail feathers. Immature males resemble hens, but will have a spotted tail and varied patches of red throughout the plumage.
The hen, as in most pheasants, has a much duller coloration than the male. At first site, she is an overall rufous brown with dark barring and a buff face and throat. The breast and sides are a barred buff and blackish brown. Her abdomen is a plain buff which varies from hen to hen. Both sexes have yellow legs and bill.
Lady Amherst Pheasant Pair (Click to Order)
Range: Southwestern China & northern Burma. Has been introduced and is breeding locally into parts of Great Britain. Attempted introductions have taken place throughout the world, including New Zealand and Hawaii. Birds may also be seen in a semi-feral state in the US, mostly escapes from aviaries or purposely released. It is doubtful there are any breeding populations here.
Habitat: Forested areas and bamboo thickets.
Description: Unmistakable and well known in aviculture, however, many captive birds may show signs of breeding with the related Golden. The following description first appeared in the May 1994 edition of the HOAGBA, Heartland News, Terry Smith, editor.
Head & Neck - Crown: Short metallic green; Crest: Crimson, narrow, stiff elongated feathers; Face & Throat: Black with metallic green spots; Bare Facial Skin & Lappet: Bluish or bluish-green; Ruff: White, rounded feathers with a blue or black border; Beak: Bluish gray Iris: Yellow. Body - Mantle: Metallic bluish green, rounded feathers with a black border edged with scintillant (sparkling) green; Upper & Middle Back: Black with a green bar and a wide buffy yellow fringe; square, broad feathers; Rump: Black with a green bar and a vermilion fringe (like an irregular patch), square, broad feathers; Breast: Metallic bluish green, rounded feathers with a black border edged with scintillant green which is wider and brighter than mantle Lower Breast: White; Flanks: White, sometimes with a slight tinge of pale yellow over the white on the lower sides; Abdomen: White; Vent: White, barred with black and brownish-gray. Wings - Scapulars: Metallic bluish green, with black border edged with scintillant green; rounded feathers; Wing Coverts: Dark metallic blue with black borders; Primaries: Blackish-brown sparsely barred with buff. Tail - Central Rectrices: White, with curved unbroken crescent shaped blackish-blue bars and wavy black lines on the interspaces; Other Rectrices: Similar on the narrow inner web, silvery-gray passing to brown outside with curved black bars on the outer web; Upper Tail Coverts: Mottled black and white with long orange-vermilion tips; Under Tail Coverts: Black and dark green more or less barred with white; Length: 33 7/8 to 45 inches. Legs & Feet - Thighs: Mottle white, black and brown; Tarsus & Feet: Bluish gray. Size - 50 to 66 1/2 inches.
Head & Neck - Crown: Reddish chestnut with black barring; Sides of Head & Neck: Blackish brown, spotted with cinnamon buff strongly washed with reddish chestnut with dark blackish barring with a green sheen; Face: Buff, strongly tinged with reddish chestnut; Upper Throat: Pale buff, sometimes white; Lower Throat: Buff, strongly tinged with reddish chestnut; Lores, Cheeks, & Ear Coverts: Silvery gray spotted with black; Orbital Skin: Light slaty-blue; Beak: Bluish-gray; Iris: Brown, sometimes pale yellow or gray in older hens. Body - Mantle: Rufous (rust) buff, strongly washed with reddish-chestnut, with dark barring having a greenish sheen; Back: Chestnut, strongly vermiculated with black; Flanks: Buff with dark blackish barring; Breast: Buff with darkish brown barring with a green sheen; Abdomen: Pale buff, sometimes white. Wings - Wing Coverts, Tertiaries & Secondaries: Rufous buff, washed with reddish chestnut, black barring with a green sheen, bars courser that those on the mantle. Tail - Rufous brown, rounded feathers at the tip, strongly marked with broad irregular bars of black, buff and pale gray vermiculated with black; Length: 12 1/8 to 26 3/4 inches. Legs & Feet - Thighs: Buff, mottled black and brown; Legs & Feet: Bluish-gray. Size - 26 to 26 3/4 inches
Status in Wild: Believed to be uncommon, but not endangered.
Interesting Facts: Named for Sarah, Countess of Amherst (1762-1838). William Pitt Amherst, Governor General of India and husband of Sarah, was responsible for sending the first birds to London in the early 1800s. Chrysolophus from the Greek word chryseos meaning golden and lophos, Greek for crest.
Status in Aviculture: Debated, pure Lady Amherst are considered rare, but a census of breeders show this to be a very common aviary bird.
Breeding Season: Varied, depending on climate, but usually begins in May. I have had aviary birds lay as early as January.
Breeding Age: While the adult plumage is not attained until the second year, first years birds are often fertile.
Clutch Size: 6-12
Incubation Period: 23-24 days.
Misc. Aviculture Notes: Lady Amherst Pheasants present no special problems to keep in captivity. Very hardy birds, they are able to withstand both extremes of temperature as long as their some modest protection from the elements. They are polygamous and several hens can be kept with a single male. These birds are very active and aviaries should be fairly large with plenty of branches and other objects for enrichment. When planning for this species, be sure to include the planting of shrubs and small trees in their aviary.
Lady Amherst Pheasants are light eaters and can be fed a mixture of grains and crumbles or pellets. Ensure that they are given greens and fruits as often as possible. Treats such as mealworms and crickets are also enjoyed.
Will readily hybridize with the Golden Pheasant and the offspring between the two species are fully fertile. This has been done for years in captivity, many unaware the damage it causes to pure bloodlines. Recently, there have been certain breeders trying to "cash-in" on creating new mutations using hybrids. This should be discouraged and if you have hybrids in your aviary, do not breed them and if you must surplus these birds, please make sure let the buyer know what they are and that they should not breed them. It is mentioned on this site over and over again, we do not encourage or approve the breeding of two pure wild species
The modest demands of the Lady Amherst Pheasant make this an ideal species for the beginner to pheasant keeping. They are docile and can be kept with other bird species such as doves, small hookbills and finches.
Reeves Pheasant Pair (Click to Order)
Range: Central China, range has been greatly reduced. Unsuccessful attempts to introduce into North America, Hawaii, England and France. Birds are still released in these areas for sport, but breeding information is unknown.
Habitat: Forested mountains.
Description: A very familiar and well known pheasant in captivity. The males are known to grow very long tails, up to 6 feet in some cases! The crown, chin and back of head is white with a black band covering the face, eyes and extending to the back of the head. Another black band around the neck seperates the head from the black-tipped, yellow-buff plumage that is on the mantle and the back and extends to the base of the tail. The upper breast is darker chestnut to black; lower breast and side feathers are white, tipped with black. The tail is very long, white with black bars.
There is a great deal of plumage variations in captive birds. Some are seen with black feathers on the crown and the black band on the face may extend below the mandible. Other birds are seen with a darker chestnut color on the body. Some breeders feel that inbreeding over the years has contributed to this.
Description, Female: The hen is drab as in most pheasants and is smaller than the male. Her face and throat are buff, with a brown crown and band behind her eye. The overall markings are mottled brown, buff and white, which hides her very well when nesting. The tail is long and barred with buff and brown.
Status in Wild: The wild population is declining, perhaps fewer than 2,000 individuals still exist in what is left of the original range. Destruction of habitat and overhunting primary threats.
Interesting Facts: Named after John Reeves, (1774-1856), a British naturalist and businessman who sent the first specimens back to England in 1831.
Status in Aviculture: Very common; most commonly seen species of the genus Syrmaticus. Due to the rapid decline of the wild population, captive breeding and genetic diversity becoming very important.
Breeding Season: Begins in late April or early May. We have had hens lay into early July.
Breeding Age: First year.
Clutch Size: 7 to 14 olive colored eggs.
Incubation Period: 24-25 days.
Misc. Aviculture Notes: Very common and easy to raise, the Reeve's need to be housed in a large aviary. They are very hardy and able to withstand both cold and heat. Cocks can become aggressive towards their keepers and other males. I once had a Reeves male that spent the entire breeding season pacing his pen, he wore most of his breast feathers off trying to get to a male Swinhoe in the next pen. Needless to say, I had no fertile eggs out of that male and when I placed a sight barrier in between the two, the Reeve's then moved to a high roost to watch the Swinhoe! I have never owned a Reeve's that has attacked me, but I have seen others who have some very aggressive birds! Just be careful and keep an eye on the male when in the aviary. Perhaps take a net in with you to keep him at bay.
The chicks are strong and aggressive and should be brooded seperate form other species as they may pick on other chicks. Several hens can be bred to one cock.
In order to keep the cock's tail in good conditon, provide him with a dry area, free of mud that could stick to the tail and damage it. Like I have already mentioned, the aviary needs to be large and be sure to keep sight barriers (tin or plastic) between the aviaries to discourage fighting
Silver Pheasant Pair (Click to Order)
Range: South-western China, eastern Burma, southern Vietnam, southwestern Cambodia, southeastern Thailand, northern Laos and the island of Hainan.
Subspecies: 15 subspecies according to Johnsgard, 1999. True Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera nycthemera) being the most commonly claimed in aviaries. The True Silver is the largest of the subspecies and is found in southeastern China. The other subspecies include the Lewis' Silver Pheasant (L. n. lewisi), the Annamese Silver Pheasant (L. n. annamensis), the Boloven Silver Pheasant (L. n. engelbachi), the Bel's Silver Pheasant (L. n. beli), the Berlioz's Silver Pheasant (L. n. berliozi), the Ruby Mines Silver Pheasant (L. n. rufipes), the Rippon's Silver Pheasant (L. n. ripponi), the Jones' Silver Pheasant (L. n. jonesi), the Western Silver Pheasant (L. n. occidentalis), the Lao Silver Pheasant (L. n. beaulieui), the Fokien Silver Pheasant (L. n. fokiensis), the Hainan Silver Pheasant (L. n. whiteheadi), Szechwan Silver Pheasant (L. n. omeiensis) and the Rang Jiang Silver Pheasant (L. n. rongjiangensis).
Two additional subspecies that are often considered Silver Pheasants are the Crawfurd's Kalij Lophura nycthemera crawfurdi and the Lineated Kalij Lophura nycthemera lineata. Recent DNA work published in the Ibis, notes that these races should be belong with leucomelanos instead of nycthemera. Click here to view the article in PDF format. If new data becomes available for nycthemera and leucomelanos, I will be sure to include it on this site.
Habitat: Diverse, both grasslands and bamboo, evergreen and decidous forests.
Description: The male True Silver L. n. nycthemera has a long black crest, a black chin and throat, with a glossy bluish-black belly. The rest of the body is white, with many black lines. Their tails can be quite long, with the central feathers pure white. One of the most noticeable features are the bright red face wattles which are used during courtship. Silvers do not acheive their brillant plumage until their second year. First year males often have many black markings on the chest, while the rest of the body is mostly brown with light gray streaks. Hens are drab, olive brown overall. There is much varation from hen to hen in the streaking of the belly, and I have never seen two hens exactly alike. Hens have a much smaller and paler face wattle. The bill is gray and the feet red. Immature Silvers resemble hens, but are often lighter or paler.
Lewis' L. n. lewisi males are somewhat similar to L. l. crawfurdi, but tail and crest some what longer, the markings on the upperparts are bolder; hens have a long crests, greyish brown overall, very fine vermiculations in contrast to the two mentioned.
Variation among the subspecies is great and I would love to have complete descriptions of each. In the meantime, one should consult Pheasants of the World by Jean Delacour for the complete descriptions.
Status in Wild: Varies among races. nycthemera and fokiensis are considered common and stable, others such as annamensis, whiteheadi and engelbachi have smaller natural ranges and are vulnerable to habitat loss.
Interesting Facts: They are well known in ancient Chinese art and poetry. I have read that these birds were also referred to as the White Phoenix.
Status in Aviculture: Common and well established, but it is believed that many of the races have been interbred and therefore pure forms of the subspecies remain rare in captivity. Of the mentioned subspecies, I can only find vague information on those kept in American aviculture. It is believed that most of the different subspecies which made it to America have interbred with the True Silver and basically I refer to most Silvers here as "American Silvers". There are a few out there who care enough to maintain pure lines, but in general, most just want what is the cheapest. Lewis' and Jones' are kept by a handful or so American breeders, but their long term outlook is not good.
There are also American breeders who are trying to create subspecies by selective breeding of jumbled lines we have here. This was done recently with a breeder claiming to have engelbachi, these were nothing more than "American" Silver bred together that had markings close to the original race. I also saw a breeder who claimed to have Ruby Mines rufripes, I begged for more information, but never got a reply and seriously doubt their existence. It is a shame, but many pheasant breeders will claim or say anything to make an extra buck. We have really lost sight of conservation in American pheasant aviculture and most just care for pheasant business. Those of us who want to preserve pure species and subspecies are left scratching our heads as we try to sort through decades of mass-produced, inbred, hybrid birds. I feel that imports of wild caught birds are needed and a strict studbook should be kept for Silver & Kalij Pheasant subspecies.
Breeding Season: Silver are among the first birds to begin laying. Don't be surprised to find an egg when there is still snow on the ground! In Missouri, my birds would begin to lay in late February and early March, slowing down in May.
Breeding Age: Second year, but first years birds are often fertile.
Clutch Size: 6 to 15
Incubation Period: 26-27 days.
Elliot Pheasant Pair (Click to Order)
Range: Southeastern China
Habitat: Thick mixed forests to about 6,200 feet.
Description: From Pheasants of the World, by John Delacour 1977 2nd ed, pp 241-242.
Male. Crown chestnut-brown, the eyebrows mixed with pale grey; cheeks and ear-coverts greyish brown; sides of neck whitish grey, the hind neck darker grey; chin, throat, and forneck black; mantle and upper breast bright rufous chestnut, each feather having a subterminal black band and a metallic coppery red fringe; a white bar on the scapulars; wing rufous chestnut with a broad steel-blue band on the lesser coverts; greater coverts with a black subterminal bar and broad white tips, forming a band accross the wing; secondaries and tertiaries chestnut with a black subterminal bar and a white or grey tip; primaries dull brown; lower back and rump black barred with white; tail of sixteen rectrices with broad bars of pale grey and rufous chestnut, seperated by irregular black lines; lower breast, abdomen, and vent white, the feathers with hidden dark brown bases; thighs chestnut-brown barred with white; feathers of the flanks chestnut with broad white tips; under tail-coverts black and chestnut. Iris brown to orange; bill horny yellow; legs grey.
Female. Crown rufous brown with blackish tips to the feathers; eyebrows, face, sides, and back of neck greyish fulvous; chin, throat, and foreneck black; mantle mottled, each feather being rufous brown with an arrow-shaped white shaft-marking and a broad subterminal black bar; scapulars fulvous brown with ashy tips; wing-coverts, tertiaries and secondaries vermiculated brown and black, with a large subterminal black patch and light greyish tip; primaries brownish black with interrupted rufous borders; lower back and rump rufous brown finely vermiculated with black; upper tail-coverts chestnut with peppered, pale brown tips, the longest with indistinct bars; central rectrices plain chestnut with black subterminal bars and broad white tips; tail short and bluntly pointed; upper breast mottled fufous brown with black subterminal spots or bars; feathers of lower breast, sides and flanks brown, with a white tip that becomes very broad on the abdomen which appears white; thighs brown; under tail coverts chestnut with broad blackish borders and white tips. Iris brown; bill horny brown; legs grey.
Immature. Like the female, but duller and the throat white; young males soon show barred tail feathers.
Swinhoe Pheasant Pair (Click to Order)
Range: Mountains of central Taiwan.
Description: Adult males are larger than the similar edwardsi and also differ in having a short white crest, a blue head, neck and breast, but the red face wattles are much more developed. There is a large white patch on the upper back, the shoulders are maroon and the wing-coverts are metallic greenish-black. The long central tail feather is white. Hens are mostly brown, speckled with triangular yellowish-buff markings. First year males look similar to adult males, but are duller and the white patch on the back is mottled brown.
Status in Wild: At one time, the wild population was in danger of extinction with under 200 birds remaining. Fifty years later, thanks to protection, national park establishment and a reintroduction of captive-bred birds, wild numbers are now stable in Taiwan.
Interesting Facts: Named for British ornithologist and naturalist Robert Swinhoe, 1836-1877, who first described the species in the 1862. He is also known for describing 16 other bird species from Formosa.
Status in Aviculture: Well established and common.
Breeding Season: Begins early here in the midwest, not uncommon to have hens lay in early March and usually lasts through mid May.
Breeding Age: Second year, but first year birds are often fertile.
Clutch Size: 3 to 6
Incubation Period: 24-26 days
Impeyan Pheasant Pair (Click to Order)
Range: The Himalayas, from eastern Afghanistan to western China
Subspecies: None recognized at this time, but current studies may place birds in northwestern India has a new subspecies as they lack the white rump and have more green on breast.
Habitat: Mountainous regions; in summer, they are found in rocky, grass covered meadows and winters in coniferous and mixed forests.
Description: The males are adorned with beautiful metallic colors of green, purple, red and blue; they also have a large white patch on the rump. The breast and underparts are black and the tail is copper. You can see from the photograph on the right, that the males also have a very long crest, much like a peacock. The male also has a bare patch of turquoise blue skin around the eye.The hens, while much duller than the male, are still attractive. They are basically mottled brown overall, with black, buff and white streaks. Her throat is white and she has a short crest. Hens also have the blue patch around the eyes. First year males resemble the hens, but are larger and have black feathers on the neck and breast.
Status in Wild: Considered stable throughout much of its range, but may have been eliminated in Afganistan.
Interesting Facts: The national bird of Nepal. Commonly called the Impeyan after Lady Impey who first kept them in captivity.
Status in Aviculture: The Himalayan Monal is the most commonly kept species of the genus Lophophorus and are well established in North American and European aviaries.
Breeding Season: Begins late April
Breeding Age: Second year.
Clutch Size: 4 to 6
Incubation Period: 28 days
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