|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Golden Pheasant - Chrysolophus pictus|
Family-Partridges, quails, pheasants and allies (Phasianidae)
Smaller than a pheasant, the male is very brightly coloured with a yellow crown and lower back, dark wings and upper neck, red underparts and long finely barred tail. female is paler brown than a female pheasant. It is a shy bird, keeping to dark, dense woodland. Roosts in trees at night.
In the wild, Golden Pheasants inhabit nearly inaccessible habitats. Filled with dense vegetation, often the wooded mountain ledges and slopes these birds live on are treacherous and rocky. As a result, little is known about their habitats, though it is certain that they share their ranges with other birds.
In captivity, Golden Pheasants are reported to get along well with other game birds and water birds, but, oddly enough, they may not be as compatible with other species of pheasant as they are with other birds. Golden Pheasants tend to be rather secretive. They can fly, but their flight is awkward and these birds are much more graceful on the ground. The courtship rituals of the Golden Pheasant are truly a special sight. The male Golden Pheasant attracts a mate by displaying all his cape, tail, and back feathers at once, in a sort of flattening motion. He will also call to his intended. Golden Pheasants are, overall, quite hardy in captivity. They are strongly disease resistant and can be a wonderful bird for a beginner or for an experienced bird owner to keep. Although most are very cautious, they often tame quickly with regular exposure to their keepers. Most do not like to be handled.
The wild type Golden Pheasant is a truly striking bird, although great sexual dimorphism is present. Males are by far the more impressive sex. Female Golden Pheasants are predominantly brown. There is dark barring present over her body save over the buff colored face and throat. The sides and breast of the female Golden Pheasant have brown and buff barring. The abdomen is simply buff colored. Male Golden Pheasants have impressive golden crests atop their heads. Many times this silky textured crest has a reddish tinge at the tip, though lower red hints can mean that the pheasant is not of pure blood lines.
The head and neck are buff colored, though the wattles and the skin about the eyes is yellow. Male Golden Pheasants have a peach or light orange cape. Each feather has a dark edging to it, giving a "scaly" appearance. The breast is bright scarlet red, fading into a chestnut coloration toward the lower parts of the abdomen and the flanks. The upper back is green in color, and the rest of the upper part of male Golden Pheasants is golden colored. Their wings are dark red with blue tertiary feathers. The upper tail coverts are black, as are the central tail feathers. These central tail feathers often have cinnamon colored specks. The tip of the tail is a buff color with a tinge of cinnamon. Males and females have yellow colored legs and beaks. There are a large number of color mutations available that can be as strikingly colored as the wild type. These mutations are pure Golden Pheasants, although a variety of hybrid crosses can be found as well. Pure color mutations arose as early as the late 1800's, and new mutations are still being propagated today.
The Golden Pheasant has been kept as a captive bird since 1740, although it has been recorded in Chinese tradition and art for centuries. Many people believe that it was the first species of pheasant to be brought to North America. These beautiful birds are native to mountain ranges in central China, and though they are quite common as captive birds, surprisingly little is known about their natural habits. Today, many Golden Pheasants have been crossed with Lady Amherst Pheasants and other pheasants, and it may be difficult to find true purebreds.
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