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Pheasant Avicultural Notes

compiled by Terry Smith

References

Delacour, Jean. The Pheasants of the World (2nd edition). Surry, England: Spur Publications, 1977.

Howman, Keith. Pheasants of the World. Blaine, WA: Hancock House Publishers, 1993.

Johnsgard, Paul A. Pheasants of the World. Oxford, New York, Tokyo: Oxford University Press. 1986.

Madge, Steve and Phil McGowan. Pheasants, Partridges, and Francolins. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. 2002.

Photo Credits

We want to thank the following people who allowed me to use their photos on this web page:

Allandoo Pheasanty (Allan Downie and Zoe A. Hunter), southwest Scotland - Bornean Crested Fireback and True Silver Pheasant

Cliff Bryan, Oconto, NE - Brown Eared, Blue Eared, Cheer pheasants, Ijima Copper, Scintillating Copper, & Temminck's Tragopan photos

James & Lula Bowen, Wayside, WV - Grey Peacock Pheasants

Roman Kmicikewycz, Peru, IN - Hume's Bar-tail Pheasant, Mikado Pheasant, Reeves’ Pheasant

Dan Cowell, Holden, MO - Edwards' Pheasant & Koklass Pheasant

Allan Wautier, Brussls, WI -Impeyan Pheasants

Bill Morrison, Paradise, California - Golden Pheasant, Ghigi Golden Pheasant, Lady Amherst Pheasant

The photos of these pheasants: Elliot’s Pheasant, Swinhoe Pheasant, Siamese Fireback, White -crested Kalij, Mikado Pheasant and Palawan Peacock Pheasant are from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 1.0 License: Kalij pheasant photographed in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, USA 12-16-2006(taken by myself: Jeff Gladden){{No rights reserved}}. The Siamese Fireback, Lophura diardi also known as Diard's Fireback Source: own work - Location: Central Park Zoo, New York Author: self, User:Stavenn Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2. Male Palawan Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis) at the Bronx Zoo. August 24, 2006 User:Dante Alighieri. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; If you want to use this file commercially, you have to do this under the terms of the GFDL.


Bornean Crested Fireback

Scientific Name: Lophura ignitabornean-crested-fireback

Origin of Name: ignita from the Latin word meaning fire, a reference to the fire-colored back and abdomen plumage

Distribution: Undergrowth in lowland rain forests and ranging up to 1000 meters or more in southern Borneo and islands off Sumatra

Captive Status: Found mainly in collections is states with a temperate climate; threatened in the wild due to logging operations and loss of habitat

Aviary Size: Minimum 150 to 200 square feet

Adult Plumage: First year; do not normally breed until second or third year vDiet: According to an article in the May,1998, issue of the World Pheasant Association Magazine: moderate to high protein: Egg white is a good protein supplement. A diet which is two parts (by weight) breeder pellet to one part cooked egg white will produce a diet with a protein content of 25-30%. Eggs can be boiled and the whites separated, or raw eggs can be separated and the whites microwaved or poached until solidified plus bits of fruit, mealworms, etc.

Mating System: Pairs, keep an aggressive male separated from female until laying begins

Display: Typical of Lophura - vocal calls, wing-whirring with engorgement of the male’s wattles, fluffing up the feathers, and a slow deliberate movement around the female

Laying Season: April to June depending on temperature and location

Nest: Hollowed out ground nest filled with dry leaves and grasses, usually under low branches

Clutch Size: 4 to 8 creamy-white to creamy-buff somewhat rounded eggs

Incubation Period: 24 days


Brown Eared Pheasant

Scientific Name: Crossoptilon mantchuricumbrown-eared

Origin of Name: Crossoptilon from Greek words meaning fringe and down or feathers; mantchuricum from Manchuria, the area where the birds were first sighted

Distribution: Native to bleak and Rocky Mountains covered in shrubs, scrub, course grasses or in stands of sparse stunted coniferous or deciduous trees in northern China and Mongolia.

Captive Status: Vulnerable due to low gene pool

Aviary Size: 200 square feet; birds are diggers and will destroy unprotected plantings

Adult Plumage: First year, but rarely fertile until the second or third year

Diet: WPA recommendation: Two parts maintenance poultry pellet (with 16% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens (kale, mustard greens, spinach — not lettuce). If you are gathering fresh greens do not inadvertently choose a toxic species.

Mating System: Pairs

Display: Courtship begins with tidbitting (the male standing over the food or tidbit and calling to the hen or he dropping the food in front of the hen) followed by male postural display. Female crouches down moving her head from side to side indicating a desire to mate. During the lateral display, the wattles enlarge, and the male drops his primary feathers on the side nearer the female until they drag the ground. He then raises the rump and tail-covert feathers and fans the tail. The male's head is drawn toward the chest and the body and tail is tipped toward the hen.

Laying Season: From late April or early May depending on location until the later part of June; they begin laying after the Blue Eared

Nest: Under low branches or shrubs in a hollow in the ground or among dried leaves; hens will often bury their eggs; may lay in nest boxes filled with dry leaves, straw, etc.

Clutch Size: 5 to 8 pale stone-colored eggs; one egg is laid every other day

Incubation Period: 27-28 days

Sexing: Spur size and development cannot be used as the single criteria in determining sex. Facial wattles of males are larger both vertically and horizontally than the wattles of the female. Adult males are larger than females by about 1/2 pound. The call of the male is slightly lower-pitched than the call of the female.


Cheer Pheasants

Scientific Name: Catreus wallichi, only member of the genus Catreuscheer-pair

Origin of Name: Catreus from a Greek word meaning a peacock-like bird; wallichi from Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist and superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Gardens

Distribution: Native to the western and central Himalayan Mountains of Nepal and Sikkim. The species is migratory and is found at altitudes ranging from 4,000 to 10,000 feet where it exists in rough terrain covered with stunted trees, brushes, and tall grasses.

Captive Status: Not popular in US collections - may be due to its drab plumage, but they are a beautiful interesting species despite the lack of vivid colors. Both sexes are very noisy and call a lot. This may help to explain why breeders with close or particular neighbors do not choose to breed the species. Considered an endangered species throughout most of its range due to the heavy grazing and destruction of habitat. In the late 1980's, the WPA sponsored the Cheer Re-Introduction Project in Pakistan which was somewhat successful despite problems with poachers, predators, and disease.

Aviary Size: Minimum 200 square feet; well-drained, Cheer should be given some shelter from rains because they are susceptible to diseases fostered by dampness. Even though they are not grass eaters, Cheer can use their bills to dig up and destroy the grass in their pens.

Adult Plumage: First year

Diet: WPA article recommends low protein: Two parts breeder poultry pellet (about 23% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens will give a diet with approximately 20% crude protein; small sees, berries, roots, tubers.

Mating System: Cheer are monogamous and should be kept in pairs. They will produce fertile eggs the spring following their hatching.

Display: Mainly lateral with the tail elongated and spread toward the female; observers have not reported any raising of the crest, enlargement of the wattles or wing-whirring.

Laying Season: Late April to early June

Nest: Lays on the ground usually in dried leaves and grass

Clutch Size: 9-10 pale yellowish gray eggs with reddish-brown speckles

Incubation Period: 26-27 days


Copper Pheasants

Copper Pheasants, which are called "Yamadordi" in Japa, are some of the most striking members of the Longtailed Pheasant family. Within the Copper family, there are five subspecies: Scintillating, Ijima, Soemmerring's, Pacific, and Shikoku. Scintillating and Ijima Copper Pheasants are the two subspecies most often found in collections in the United States.

Scientific Name: Ijima Copper - Syrmaticus soemmerringi ijimascintillating-copper-pair

Scientific Name: Scintillating Copper - Syrmaticus soemmerringi scitillans

Origin of Name: Ijima Copper - Ijima after Professor Ijima, Professor of Zoology at Tokyo University

Origin of Name: Scintillating Copper - soemmerringi after M. le professeur de Soemmerring; scitillans from the Latin word meaning spark, "sparkle."

Captive Status: Not commonly found in collections

Aviary Size: 200 square feet with cover for hens to hide when males are aggressive

Adult Plumage: First year

Diet: Normal pheasant diet. According to an article in the WPA Magazine, May,1998, Copper Pheasants are in the category Pheasants in Group IIA — low protein: Two parts breeder poultry pellet (about 23% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens will give a diet with approximately 20% crude protein

Mating System: May be kept in pairs

Laying Season: From late early April through late May depending on location

Nest: Scraped out ground nest usually located in the back of the pen near cover

Clutch Size: 6 to 12 relatively small cream-colored eggs; 1 egg is laid every other day

Incubation Period: 24-25 days

Chicks: Copper chicks are small and resemble Elliot's chicks although they are brighter in color. The middle of the crown and nape are dark chestnut, the back is light chestnut, and the under body parts are yellowish-buff.


Edwards' Pheasant

Scientific Name: Gennaeus edwardsiedwards-pair

Origin of Name: edwardsi after Alphonse Milne-Edwards, zoologist and director of the Paris Museum of Natural History; named in 1896 by E. Oustalet, a colleague of Milne-Edwards at the museum

Distribution: Found at low and moderate altitudes in the undergrowth of the forests of central Vietnam

Captive Status: Threatened in captivity due to inbreeding and infertility. Listed as critically endangered. Their habitat was sprayed by defoliants during the Vietnam War. Surveys in 1988, 1989, & 1990 found no Edwards' Pheasants in the wild.

Aviary Size: Minimum 150 square feet

Adult Plumage: First year, may not be fertile until second year

Diet: Mainly grains, mash, little if any vegetable matter

Mating System: Pairs or trios

Display: Males whir their wings, raise the crest, and fluff up the feathers along the back

Laying Season: Early layers, usually late March through early May; varies with climate and region

Clutch Size: 4 to 8 small creamy to rosy-buff eggs with small white pit marks

Incubation Period: 21-22 days


Elliot's Pheasant

Scientific Name: Syrmaticus elliotielliots

Origin of Name: ellioti for Dr. D. G. Elliot, a respected American Zoologist

Distribution: Native to the shrub-covered mountain slopes and bamboo thickets and undergrowth found in the sparse coniferous forested valleys of China south of the Yangtze River

Captive Status: numerous

Aviary Size: 200 square feet

Adult Plumage: First year

Diet: 20% protein crumbles or pellets; chopped apples and other fruits, sunflower seeds, milo and other small seeds

Mating System: May be kept in pairs or trios

Display: Begins with the whirring of the wings. As the males stretches his neck upward, he resorts to a lateral or side display. The feathers are puffed out, and the tail is spread out and tilted toward the hen. The red facial wattles also become enlarged with the intensity of the male's display.

Laying Season: From late February or early March depending on location through the latter part of may

Nest: Scraped out ground nest usually in the back corner of the pen

Clutch Size: 6 to 8 rosy-whiteeggs; 1 egg is laid every other day

Incubation Period: 25-26 days


Golden Pheasant (commonly called Red Golden)

Scientific Name: Chrysolophus pictusf2-golden-cock

Origin of Name: Chrysolophus from a Greek word meaning with golden crest; pictus from a Latin word meaning painted or adorned

Distribution: Inhabits bamboo and scrub forests on the rocky hills and slopes up to 1600 meters in central China

Captive Status: Numerous, but threatened in the wild except on preserves due to loss of habitat. Captive breeding stock can be crossed due to careless breeding with Lady Amherst and various mutation crosses Have been in captivity since 1740; George Washington kept them at Mount Vernon.

Aviary Size: Minimum 100 square feet

Adult Plumage: Second year; Good goldens are small, slender and high on their legs. The tail should not have any barring.

Diet: WPA article recommendation: Two parts maintenance poultry pellet (with 16% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens (kale, mustard greens, spinach — not lettuce). If you are gathering fresh greens be sure you do not inadvertently choose a toxic species.

Mating System: Pairs or trios

Display: Lateral display, male runs around female in wide circles or semi-circles attempting to block her movement. Then he stops suddenly, moves toward the female with his eye held close to her head. Simultaneously, the male's cape is drawn toward the female, forming a pattern of circles around his eye where the pupils are mere pinpoints. The wing nearer the female is lowered, the tail coverts are spread and the male utters a hiss.

Laying Season: April to early June

Next: May lay on bare ground or in nest of dried leaves, grasses

Clutch Size: 5-12 pale buff or creamy eggs laid about 24 hours past

Incubation Period: 22-23 days

Mutations: Delacour's writings mention the Dark-Throated Golden which was first observed in 1865. The Yellow Golden or Ghigi Golden was stabilized by Professor A. Ghigi in Italy in the mid 1950's. Ghigi also selected the Salmon Golden which was first recorded in the Pheasant Standards of the American Game Birds Breeders' Cooperative in 1969. Beginning in 1971, W. Prospect propagated the mutation known as Cinnamon Golden. Over the years, there have been reports of other mutations, but of the recent mutations, the Peach Golden is found most often.


Grey Peacock Pheasant

Scientific Name: Polyplectron bicalcartumgrey-peacocks

Origin of Name: Polyplectron from a Greek word meaning "many spurred"; bicalcaratum from Latin words meaning "two-spurs"

Distribution: From the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains, east to the Gulf of Tonkin, and throughout the northern part of southeast Asia. Native to the dense rain forests from sea level to an altitude of 6,000 feet

Aviary Size: Minimum of 100 to 150 square feet

Adult plumage: First year, birds reach sexual maturity when they are 2 or 3 years age

Diet: Normal pheasant diet plus peanuts, chopped fruit, seeds, mealworms, etc. (WPA article cited earlier states equal weights of breeder pellets and cooked egg white give a diet with 35% crude protein. Supplement this diet with calcium, a sprinkle of crushed oyster shell or calcium carbonate.

Mating System: Usually kept in pairs or trios of hens are compatible

Display: Male makes chirping whistle reminiscent of squeaky door to get the hen's attention; while facing the hen, the male's crest is erect and directed toward his beak; his tail and wings are fully spread, while his head and breast are low to the ground

Laying Season: January or February to July or later

Nest: Scraped out in the ground usually in a back corner; occasionally in an elevated nest box

Clutch Size: 2 creamy-white eggs, but the hen may lay up to 6 clutches; clutches are laid about 3 weeks apart

Incubation Period: 22 days

Special note: Requires heat in the winter in non-temperate areas


Hume's Bar-Tailed Pheasant

Scientific Name: Syrmaticus humiae humiaehumes-bar-tail-male

Origin of Name: humiae after Mrs. Allan Hume, the wife of a British ornathologist

Distribution: Open forests in northeastern India, northern Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, southwestern China.

Captive Status: Common in collections, but new bloodlines are needed. There are major concerns about confusing this species and the related Elliot's when selecting breeding stock . Listed as endangered, actual wild population and status uncertain.

Aviary Size: 200 square feet

Adult Plumage: First year; breeds first year

Diet: 20% protein crumbles or pellets; chopped apples and other fruits, sunflower seeds, milo and other small seeds

Mating System: Pairs or trios

Display: Courtship usually begins in late March or early April and continues until mid-May. Cocks frequently tidbit, or pick up bits of food while clucking to get the attention of the hen. The cock's lateral display consists of the lowering of the head and wings, spreading the tail feathers, and ruffling the body feathers. The cock then runs in an arc toward the female before veering away from her.

Laying Season: April to late May.

Nest: In a scraped ground nest usually in the back corner of the pen

Clutch Size: 6-11 creamy to rosy-white eggs

Incubation Period: 27-28 days.

Special Notes: As typical with most Syrmaticus, Hume's Bartailed Pleasants can be nervous and flighty in the aviary. Provide plenty of cover for the female for nesting and escape routes from males.


Impeyan (Himalayan Monal)

Scientific Name: Lophophorus impeyanusimpeyan-pair

Origin of Name: Lophophorus from two Greek words literally meaning crest-bearing; impeyanus after Lady Impey, the wife of the first governor of the state of Bengal in India

Distribution: At altitudes of 8,000 to 15,00 feet from eastern Afghanistan, through Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Bhutan and on into Tibet. May be seen at higher elevations during the summer. Found in relatively open coniferous, mixed or deciduous forests and rhododendrons, usually on rocky, broken, and precipitous slopes and in gorges.

Captive Status: Under pressure in some areas of its range due to grazing of animals and destruction of forests for lumber and firewood. In captivity, the numbers of Impeyans declined 5 to 7 years ago due to their susceptibility to West Nile Disease.

Aviary Size: 400 square feet with sand base. They are diggers.

Adult Plumage: Second year; breeds the second year.

Diet: In the wild, tubers, roots, and subterranean insects. According the WPA article Impeyans belong to a group of pheasants requiring 25% protein which is moderate to high protein. Egg white is a good protein supplement. A diet which is two parts (by weight) breeder pellets to one part cooked egg white will produce a diet with a protein content of 25-30%. Eggs can be boiled and the whites separated, or raw eggs can be separated and the whites microwaved or poached until solidified.

Mating System: Pairs

Display: It is both frontal and lateral. The cock stands very erect with his head tucked close to his neck. The head almost appears flat. With his tail spread out, the cock calls and pecks at the ground. After a short time, he will bow and the tassels on his head rotate in a circle. Occasionally, he will walk about the hen in circles as he lowers the wing facing the hen to the ground. The most spectacular part of the display happens when the male completely drops both wings, revealing the white patch on his back. This is culminated by a short, minute at the most, jump or dance about the pen.

Laying Season: In late April or early May almost within a day or two of the date when they laid the year before. They usually lay every third day.

Clutch Size: 4 to 8 eggs reddish-buff eggs with darker reddish brown markings

Incubation Period: 28 days

Special Notes: Young birds are hard to sex. The first signs of a male are black mottling below the neck.


Koklass (Common Koklass)

Scientific Name: Pucrasia macrolopha macrolopha - sub-species most commonly found in captivitykoklass-pair

Origin of Name: Pucrasia, the Latin onomatopetic (the formation of a name by imitating the sound association with the designated object) name; macrolopha from Greek words meaning long and crest (long-crested)

Distribution: Koklass are native to the forested mountain slopes of Afghanistan, Nepal, northeastern Tibet, and eastern China. Their natural habitat is one of rocky slopes covered with both coniferous and deciduous trees with an undergrowth of bushes and bamboos. Feeding on shoots and grass, they migrate up the slopes in the spring and summer and return to lower elevations as the snow begins to fall.

Captive Status: Vulnerable, not common. Jean Delacour wrote in Pheasants of the World, "With the exception of the Blood Pheasant, Koklass are the least satisfactory in captivity." In an article which appeared in the March, 1977, American Pheasant & Waterfowl Society Magazine entitled "The Koklass Pheasant - a Problem Bird", Keith Howman stated that a better understanding of the life style of the Koklass is needed in order to reduce high mortality of the birds in captivity."

Aviary Size: Minimum 800 square feet heavily planted in grass

Adult Plumage: First year

Diet: Howman, who studied the species in their native habitat, concluded after analyzing their droppings that 92% of the diet of the Koklass came from vegetable matter. WPA article cited earlier states - low protein: Two parts breeder poultry pellet (about 23% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens (see notes for Group IIB), will give a diet with approximately 20% protein. In the May, 1990, issue of WPA News, Keith Howman stated that Koklass will die of heart or kidney related problems when they are fed too much high quality artificial food.

Mating System: Pairs - the species tends to produce more hens than males; avoid trios because the cock may bully or even kill the less-favored hen. Breeders who have maintain Koklass in trios have reported a number of infertile eggs which suggests that the cock is only breeding with one of the hens.

Display: Lateral display - male struts around the female, the male's wing is lowered with the primaries dragging the ground, the tail feathers are spread into a broad fan, the ear tufts are extended, and the white cheek feathers are fluffed up. The male may also stand very upright and utter a crowing call.

Laying Season: April to June

Nest: Usually a scrape in the ground near cover

Clutch Size: 5 to 7 deep buff eggs with reddish-brown markings or blotches

Incubation Period: 26 to 27 days

Special Notes: To avoid leg problems, get chicks on greens as soon as possible and raise them in brooders where they will good footing. Because they graze, adult birds need to be wormed on a regular basis.


Lady Amherst Pheasant

Scientific Name: Chrysolophus amherstiaelady-amhurst-hen

Origin of Name: amherstiae after the Countess Amherst, who brought the species to England

Distribution: Native to the mountains of southeastern Tibet and southwestern China where they live in thickets of bamboo and in scrub forests

Captive Status: Numerous, but many are not pure due to crossing with Golden Pheasants Common faults of a Lady Amherst cock: Traces of some color other than green in the crown. The red in the crest should stop precisely where the green begins. Traces of red in the breast or on the flanks. Facial skin coloring other than bluish-green. Dark gray or brownish color in the white area between the bars on the central rectrices. Broken or mottled barring on the central rectrices. Small size approaching that of the Golden Pheasant. Yellowish legs. Common faults of a Lady Amherst Hen: Lack of reddish-chestnut color on the head, neck, throat and upper breast. No gray marking on the tail. Lack of distinct barring on the tail. Yellowish legs.

Aviary Size: Minimum 100 square feet

Adult Plumage: Second year

Diet: WPA article cited earlier recommendations: moderate to high protein: Egg white is a good protein supplement. A diet which is two parts (by weight) breeder pellet to one part cooked egg white, will produce a diet with a protein content of 25-30%. Eggs can be boiled and the whites separated, or raw eggs can be separated and the whites microwaved or poached until solidified.

Mating System: Pairs or trioslady-amhurst-male

Display: Display which begins with the spreading of the ruff or cape around the head. The cock dashes about the pen stopping to arch his body in a lateral display which extends from the crest to the rectrices. This is accompanied by the cock's hissing as he appears to flatten his body in a forty-five degree angle in the direction of the hen. He then jumps to the other side of the hen and repeats his courting behavior.

Laying Season: Depending on the weather, the breeding season begins in mid-April and ends in mid to late June. Hens lay the first year, but a yearling hen does not lay as many eggs as an older hen.

Nest: Scrape in the ground lined with dried leaves,& grasses sometimes out in the open, but often under cover.

Clutch Size: 6 - 12 long, oval buff to cream colored eggs laid daily or every other day depending on the hen

Incubation Period: 22 days


Mikado Pheasant

Scientific Name: Syrmaticus mikadomikado-cock

Origin of Name: mikado, the title of the Emperor of Japan

Distribution: Native only to the island of Taiwan, the species is found in the central mountains at altitudes of 5,200 to 10,500 feet in thick forests having bamboo and rhododendron underbrush. During the rainy season, they spend much time perched in trees.

Captive Status: Good, but threatened in the wild due to encroachment by man and habitat loss

Aviary Size: Minimum 200 square feet

Adult Plumage: First year; cocks are fertile the first year, and hens will lay the first year if they are in good condition and have been maintained on a good diet. Better results are usually obtained from two-year old pairs.

Diet: WPA article recommendation - 15% protein diet which can be achieved by feeding two parts maintenance poultry pellet (with 16% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens (kale, mustard greens, spinach — not lettuce). If you are gathering fresh greens be sure you do not inadvertently choose a toxic species.

Mating System: Usually pairs

Display: During the breeding season, the cock sounds a shrill call. Tidbitting, where the male presents food to the female, is a part of courtship. The male's courtship consists of an erect frontal display, his fluffing out his feathers, spreading his tail horizontally, and dashing about the pen to impress the female. Wing-whirring appears to be associated with territorial behavior rather than courtship behavior.

Laying Season: end of March - mid-July depending on climate and location

Nest: ground nest in dried leaves & grasses, but will lay in an elevated nest box

Clutch Size: 5-10 creamy-white eggs at three-day intervals; eggs are much larger and longer in shape than other species of Syrmaticus

Incubation Period: 27 days


Palawan Peacock Pheasants

Scientific Name: Polyplectron napoleonis (William Beebe in Monograth of the Pheasants, Vol. 11) Polyplectron emphanum, scientific name currently used in referencespalawan

Origin of Name: napoleonis, dedicated to the Emperor Napoleon; Palawan, after the island in the Philippines, where the species is found

Distribution: Found only on the island of Palawan in the Philippines in the thick damp forests lying at lower altitudes along the coastal plains.

Captive Status: Numbers in captivity have increased in recent years, but Palawans are still one of the harder to find species of pheasants. In jeopardy in the wild due to deforestation and trapping

Aviary Size: Minimum 100 square feet; requires heat in less-temperate climates

Adult Plumage: Second year

Diet: Shows a preference for live insects, fruit, seeds, peanuts and other foods high in protein and sugars. normal pheasant diet plus peanuts, chopped fruit, seeds, mealworms, etc. WPA article cited earlier states equal weights of breeder pellets and cooked egg white give a diet with 35% crude protein. Supplement this diet with calcium — a sprinkle of crushed oyster shell or calcium carbonate

Mating System: Pairs

Display: Male struts around female spread the neck and mantle feathers to form a cape while holding a bit of food which is dropped in front of the female. This is followed by a full lateral display which includes spreading of the tail feathers, dropping the wing nearer the female so the primaries touch the ground, partially opening the other wing and pointing it upward. The crest is erected and pointed diagonally forward so that the eye and white area around the eye are visible. At the peak of the display, the male utters a prolonged, soft groan.

Laying Season: In southern parts of the US, the breeding season may begin as early as March.

Nest: Scraped out area on the ground or in elevated nest boxes.

Clutch Size: 2 rosy to buff-white eggs.

Incubation Period: 18 to 19 days.


Reeve's Pheasant

Scientific Name: Syrmaticus reevesireeves-pair

Origin of Name: Syrmaticus from a Latin word meaning dragging or trailing, a reference to the long, trailing feathers; reevesi from the last name of the man who brought the first living birds to Europe

Distribution: Numerous, stories of the aggressive cocks keep some breeders from keeping them; threatened in the wild due to the encroachment of man and being killed for their long tail feathers

Captive Status: Numerous, stories of the aggressive cocks keep some breeders from keeping them; threatened in the wild due to the encroachment of man and being killed for their long tail feathers

Aviary Size: 200 square feet. In order to maintain a long tail, the birds must be kept in a pen having no tall vegetation or objects with sharp edges that can damage the long, trailing feathers. Wet, muddy, or icy conditions can also damage the long feathers.

Adult Plumage: First year

Diet: 17 – 20% pellets or mash, berries, small grains & seeds

Mating System: Pairs or trios

Display: Walking in a stiff-legged manner, the male circles the female until he is within about 6 feet of her. Then the male raises and spreads his tail until the hen moves. Then the male makes several stiff-legged bounds until he is about a foot from the hen. While doing this, the folded far wing is tilting slightly upward.

Laying Season: Mid-April to mid-July

Nest: Ground scrape lined with needles, dried leaves, and grasses

Clutch Size: 6-9, up to 15 olive-cream to olive-brown eggs

Incubation Period: 24-25 days


Satyr Tragopan

Scientific Name: Tragopan satyrasatyr-hen-chick

Origin of Name: Tragopan from a Greek word meaning "goat" and the god Pan. Satrya from a semi-deity in Greek mythology having horns and the hind limbs of a goat

Distribution: Native to forested slopes at 3,000 to 12,000 feet elevation of the Himalayan Mountains in northwestern India, through Burma, and central China

Captive Status: Several hundred

Aviary Size: Minimum 400 square feet with grass base

Adult Plumage: Second year Care should be taken in selecting breeding stock as breeders have mistakenly crossed birds since the hen is similar to the Temminck's hen

Diet: WPA article recommendation: Two parts maintenance poultry pellet (with 16% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens (kale, mustard greens, spinach — not lettuce). If you are gathering fresh leave instead of or as a supplement for commercially grown leaves, be sure you do not inadvertently choose a toxic variety.

Mating System: Monogamous; usually kept in pairs

Display: Lateral and frontal; culminates with the extension of the colorful blue lappet, usually hidden within the throat, and the "horns" being erected

Laying Season: Early April to June

Nest: Elevated, but will lay on the ground

Clutch Size: normally 2-4 buff-colored eggs with reddish colored blotches; a hen producing more than 12 eggs is exhibiting hybrid vigor

Incubation Period: 28 days


Siamese Fireback

Scientific Name: Lophura diardisiamese-fireback

Origin of Name: Lophura from a Greek word meanind bushy or crested tail; diardi after M. Diard, a French explorer; Siamese from Siam, part of the range of the species

Distribution: Native to the bamboo and thick secondary forests up to about 2,000 feet in southern Indo-China

Captive Status: Fair; threatened in the wild because of deforestation

Aviary Size: Minimum 150-200 square feet

Adult Plumage: First year, but not has bright as second year plumage; usually takes three years to reach sexual maturity

Diet: WPA article recommendation: high protein: equal weights of breeder pellets and cooked egg white give a diet with 35% crude protein. Supplement this diet with calcium — a sprinkle of crushed oyster shell or calcium carbonate.

Mating System: Pairs

Display: Wing-whirring, enlargement of the wattles, with the exposure of the bright-yellow rump feathers normally hidden by the wing coverts at the culmination of the lateral display

Laying Season: April to June ; may vary from year to year

Clutch Size: 5-8 pale pinkish-cream eggs

Incubation Period: 24-25 days

Special Note: Mickey Ollson wrote in an article on raising Firebacks (Gazette, May-June, 1987), "Natural limbs of varying diameters are placed in each box for chicks to perch on if they desire. This is especially important as Fireback chicks are somewhat arboreal and perches are necessary if crooked toes are to be avoided.


Silver Pheasant

Scientific Name: Lophura nycthemeratrue-silver

Origin of Name: nycthemera from Greek words meaning "night and day", a reference to the black and white coloration of the bird

Distribution: From the bamboo and evergreen forest in the foothills and in mountainous areas up to about 6,000 feet in southern China southward through eastern Burma and most of Indochina; various subspecies are found only in limited and specific locations (see the writings of Delacour or Johnsgard for specifics)

Captive Status: numerous for nominate race True Silver

Aviary Size: 100 to 200 square feet

Adult Plumage: full color second year

Diet: diet for Group IA pheasants reprinted from May, 1998, WPA News. Moderate to high protein: Egg white is a good protein supplement. A diet which is two parts (by weight) breeder pellet to one part cooked egg white will produce a diet that has a 25-30% protein content Eggs can be boiled and whites separated or raw eggs can be separated and the whites micro-waved or poached until solidified. Will eat some chopped fruits, raw peanuts, sunflower seeds, and small grains.

Mating System: may be kept in pairs or trios

Display: Male approaches female in an indirect manner, stops facing the female, stands erect, utters a two-syllable call, whirrs his wings; as the male spreads his wings and tail, he exhibits them laterally to the female as he circles the her

Laying Season: April through late May depending on location

Nest: scraped out ground nest under cover or toward the back of the pen

Clutch Size: 6 to 8 light to dark rosy buff eggs

Incubation Period: 25 to 26 days

Downy Chick: Head pale golden brown, with a dark line on the crown and nape; two black lines from eyes to nape; back dark brown; two buffy lines on the sides; under parts whitish buff, yellow on the breast; legs are red


Swinhoe Pheasant

Scientific Name: Lophura swinhoeiswinhoe

Origin of Name: swinhoei after Robert Swinhoe, a British Consul in Formosa, who discovered the species

Distribution: The species is native to Taiwan (Formosa) where the birds forage for food in the uncut hardwood forests hills ranging up to 7,009 feet. Little was known about their habits in the wild until 1977 when S. R. Severinghaus observed them as part of his doctoral studies at Cornell University. He observed that the species was not found in areas having the undergrowth of the typical jungle environment but in areas where tall trees form a canopy providing lots of shade with filtered sunlight.

Captive Status: Numerous, but due to their being found on only one island they are classified as vulnerable due to logging operations in the primary hardwood forests where the species is found

Aviary Size: approximately 150 square feet

Adult Plumage: Second year

Diet: Normal pheasant diet. According to an article in the May, 1998, issue of the World Pheasant Association Magazine, Swinhoe are in the category Pheasants in Group IIA — low protein: Two parts breeder poultry pellet (about 23% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens will give a diet with approximately 20% crude protein

Mating System: May be kept in pairs or trios if hens are compatible

Laying Season: From late early April through May de-pending on location

Nest: Scraped out ground nest usually located in the back of the pen near cover; elevated nests have been found in the wild as well as near a fallen tree

Clutch Size: 6 to 12 reddish to cream buff eggs; 1 egg is laid every other day

Incubation Period: 24 to 25 days

Chicks: Crown and nape are orangish-brown with a dark central line; face is pale buff with black stripes extending from the eyes to the neck; upper body parts are chocolate brown with a creamy white line along each side and a creamy bar on the wings; the chine, throat, and belly are creamy-white; remaining body parts are rufous.


Temminck's Tragopan

Scientific Name: Tragopan temminckitemminks-tragopan

Origin of Name: Named for Coenraad Jacob Temminck, a Dutch ornithologist

Captive Status: Well established

Aviary Size: Minimum 400 square feet with a grass base

Adult Plumage: Second year

Diet: According to information in the May, 1998 issue of WPA News, Temminck's belong to Group IIA Pheasants requiring low protein. This can be achieved by two parts breeder poultry pellets (about 23% crude protein to one part (by weight) mixed greens. This will give a diet with about 20% crude protein. Is primarily a vegetarian with emphasis on fruits & berries

Mating System: Monogamous; usually kept in pairs

Display: Lateral and frontal; culminates with the extension of the colorful blue lappet, usually hidden within the throat, and the "horns" being erected

Nest: Elevated, but will lay on the ground

Clutch Size: normally 2-4 buff with brown spots or "freckles" eggs

Incubation Period: 28 days

Special Notes: Chick can "fly" in 2 to 3 days; grow slowly; is sensitive to disease & chilling


White-crested Kalij

Scientific Name: Gennaeus albocristatus (William Beebe in Monograth of the Pheasants, Vol. 11) Lophura leucomelani hamiltoni, scientific name currently used in referenceswhite-crested-kalij

Origin of Name: Gennaeus from a Greek word meaning noble or proud, perhaps a reference to the bird's carriage; albocristatus from Latin words meaning white-crested

Distribution: Forest-dwelling birds are native to the foothills and up to 11,000 feet in the western Himalayan Mountains.

Captive Status: Not as popular or numerous as other species; not threatened in the wild though they are hunted, they are resistant to habitat changes and adjust

Aviary Size: Minimum 200 feet planted in grasses

Adult Plumage: First year, fertile eggs are usually not obtained the first year

Diet: WPA article recommendation: moderate to high protein: Egg white is a good protein supplement. A diet which is two parts (by weight) breeder pellet to one part cooked egg white, will produce a diet with a protein content of 25-30%. Eggs can be boiled and the whites separated, or raw eggs can be separated and the whites microwaved or poached until solidified.

Mating System: Observations of wild birds suggests polygamy, Delacour mentioned keeping them in trios in his writings

Display: Wing-whirring display along with a simple lateral display - spreading the tail, enlargeing the facial wattles, moving around the female, shaking the tail, and making clucking or booming noises. Tidbitting, though never described in any detail, is a known Kalij behavior

Laying Season: March to June

Nest: Slight hollow usually near cover or in a clump of grass

Clutch Size: 9-15 pale to dark rosy-buff eggs

Incubation Period: 24-25 days