Golden Pheasant

Chrysolophus pictus

Species Information

Come meet our golden pheasants, often found sharing some fruit with the macaws or showing off their flamboyant feathers!

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Golden pheasants originate in valleys and mountains in China and have been introduced to the UK. They inhabit dense forested areas such as woodlands.

A male is known for their bright colouration, having a golden crest tipped with red as well as golden rumps, a green back and a bright red underpart. Whereas the females are a more dull, brown plumage. The reason the males are so brightly coloured, and the females are not, is because the males have evolved trying to ‘impress’ the females with their colourations, whereas the females do not need to impress a male to court with them. Extravagant and conspicuous feathers are also not beneficial to female pheasants because they must remain camouflage among their surrounds as they have chicks to incubate and raise.

They forage on the ground primarily feeding on plants, fruits, seeds as well as some insects and spiders.

6 years in the wild and up to 20 in human care.

These vocal birds have a range of calls, including alarm calls to signal nearby predators and calls to attract and contact females. However, they are timid, hiding in the woodlands during the day and roosting in trees at night to prevent attracting predators.

A male will attract a female with a courtship dance. This involves displaying their plumage in an enhanced manner, for example, they will wear their neck feathers over their head like a cape. They strut around performing all sorts of different moves and if the female is impressed they will mate. The female will then lay the eggs in her nest built on the ground and incubate 8-12 eggs for up to 24 days. The chicks are born in a precocial state; meaning they born in an advanced state and can begin to forage immediately.

Least Concern

They only fly in short bursts, mainly to avoid predators, because they are quite clumsy in flight!