The Golden Pheasant or “Chinese Pheasant” is native to forests in mountainous areas of western China but feral populations have been established in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
The adult male is 90–105 cm in length, its tail accounting for two-thirds of the total length. It is unmistakable with its golden crest and rump and bright red body. The deep orange “cape” can be spread in display, appearing as an alternating black and orange fan that covers all of the face except its bright yellow eye, with a pinpoint black pupil.
Despite the male’s showy appearance, these hardy birds are very difficult to see in their natural habitat. Consequently, little is known of their behavior in the wild.
They feed on the ground on grain, leaves and invertebrates, but roost in trees at night. While they can fly, they prefer to run: but if startled they can suddenly burst upwards at great speed, with a distinctive wing sound.
Although they can fly in short bursts they are quite clumsy in flight and spend most of their time on the ground. Golden Pheasants lay 8-12 eggs at a time and will then incubate these for around 22–23 days. They tend to eat berries, grubs, seeds and other types of vegetation.
Lady Amherst Pheasant