The golden pheasant, also known as the Chinese pheasant or the rainbow pheasant, is a brilliantly colored terrestrial bird that is a favorite in zoos and aviaries around the world. Read on to learn more about this fascinating animal’s traits and habits.
The golden pheasant is a sexually dichromatic species. Males are brilliantly colored, with a red breast, a golden yellow head and golden crest, and a rainbow of yellow, green, blue, light orange, and dark red feathers over the rest of the body.
Female golden pheasants, however, have a less vibrant appearance. They sport mottled brown plumage and resemble the female common pheasant.
The male of the species grows to between 35 and 41 inches in length and weighs 500-700 g. The female is smaller, growing to around 24-28 inches in length and weighing around 350 g.
Location and Habitat
The golden pheasant is native to Western China, but can also be found in feral populations in many countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, New Zealand, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and more.
These birds inhabit coniferous forests in mountainous regions. They prefer the shadowy ground beneath dense growth and roost in tall trees at night.
Golden pheasants are also commonly found in zoos, where they are often hybrids with the similar breed Lady Amherst’s pheasant.
Call of the Golden Pheasant
The golden pheasant produces a variety of calls, the most common of which is a “chack chack” sound. During the breeding season, males produce a metallic-sounding call.
The golden pheasant is a forager, feeding on foods it can find along the forest floor. These include spiders, insects, grubs, seeds, berries, grain, and other vegetation.
They have also been known to forage wheat leaves and seeds from human settlements near the edge of the forest.
The golden pheasant is non-migratory.
In the wild, the golden pheasant can live for 5-6 years. However, in captivity, they have been known to live for 15 or even 20 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can the Golden Pheasant Fly?
The golden pheasant can fly for short bursts, but it prefers to run. This colorful bird spends most of its time on the ground, but when startled, it can fly quickly upward to escape predators.
Are There Golden Pheasants in the United States?
Golden pheasants are native to Western China, but there are feral populations in many other countries including the United States.
How Rare Is a Golden Pheasant?
Because of its large global range, the exact population of golden pheasants is unknown. However, they are considered common.
Are Golden Pheasants Aggressive?
Golden pheasants are typically not aggressive and are relatively tame to other species and to humans. Males will sometimes fight over a female.