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What is a Golden Pheasant?

The Golden Pheasant, with its radiant plumage, is a bird of stunning beauty, native to the mountainous forests of China. Its brilliant red body and striking golden crest make it a marvel in the avian world. Intrigued by this creature's dazzling display? Discover how the Golden Pheasant's vibrant colors play a role in its survival and mating rituals.
Sarah Sullins
Sarah Sullins

The golden pheasant is a type of bird that is native to the forests of China. Many golden pheasants exist in captivity in other parts of the world, such as the United States. They are a very popular type of pheasant, and it is said that George Washington had a few of them. The males of the species have a variety of colors, which they use to show off for the females during their mating season. This type of bird is also known as the Chinese pheasant or red golden pheasant.

Many golden pheasants live in zoos or aviaries, and much about what people know of them comes from what they have learned about the birds that live in captivity. Little is known about how these birds behave in the wild because they are very hard to find in China’s forests, despite the males’ bright, beautiful colors. A pure golden pheasant is difficult to find because many of the birds have been bred with Lady Amherst pheasants. Lady Amherst pheasants and goldens are both part of a group of pheasants known as ruffed pheasants.

It is said that George Washington owned a few golden pheasants.
It is said that George Washington owned a few golden pheasants.

These birds are generally easy to keep in a backyard aviary because they are so small. Usually, the males grow up to 40 inches (about 1 m), and the majority of their length is in their tail. Females are smaller, growing to only about 31 inches (about 79 centimeters).

A male golden pheasant has many colors, including light and dark orange, red, yellow, black, blue, dark red, cinnamon, and gold. These colors do not develop until the male is 2 years old. The female of the species is generally much less colorful, usually dark brown and black. Both the males and females will have yellow legs if they are true golden pheasants.

Even before his colors appear, a male can participate in courtship and mating. A male that has reached full maturity can breed with four hens. The hens will be able to lay up to a dozen eggs in mid-spring to late spring. If a breeder takes the eggs for incubation, the hen may lay another clutch at the beginning of summer.

Although the golden pheasant can fly, it generally chooses to walk or run instead. If it is scared, it will generally run away instead of flying. In the air, the birds are not very coordinated and are much more suited for walking on the ground.

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    • It is said that George Washington owned a few golden pheasants.
      By: Georgios Kollidas
      It is said that George Washington owned a few golden pheasants.