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What is a Silver Pheasant?

J.L. Drede
J.L. Drede

The silver pheasant is a bird of the genus Lophura, which are a group of birds that are also referred to as Gallopheasants. Its scientific name is Lophura nycthemera. The bird is native to Southeast Asia, primarily in the countries of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Its habitat in these countries is diverse, as it can make both grasslands and heavy forests its home. In addition to its natural habitat, it has also been introduced in Hawaii and other portions of the United States.

The silver pheasant is one of the larger types of pheasant. Males of the species can reach a maximum length of 50 inches (125 cm) and weigh 4.5 pounds (2 kg). The feathers of the male are white on the upper half and tail, while the bottom half is blueish-black. Its bare face and wattles are both a bright red, as are the feet and legs. The beak is a pale white.

Veterinarian with a puppy
Veterinarian with a puppy

Females of the species can grow to 27 inches (70 cm) and weigh at least 3 pounds (1.3 kg). Its plumage is brown on the upper half, while the underside is brown/white. This pattern extends down to the tail. The female's face is also red, but it does not have the wattles of the male's face. Also different is the female's legs, which are usually a pinkish color.

The vocal patterns of the silver pheasant most often consist of cackles and grunts. High pitched chirping and loud whistles are only common in the males, who use them when in a defensive posture. This behavior is usually used by the bird when it wants to exert dominance over its territory. Usually a single male bird will have control over a large territory and mate with all the females in that area. Although the pheasant can fly, it rarely does. Instead it travels by walking and only takes off if it feels threatened or disturbed.

The silver pheasant has proven to be a popular pet for bird lovers for some time. Because of its size and behavior, it cannot be kept indoors or in small cages, but it does very well in large, outdoor aviaries. It is considered to be a hardy species that is easy to care for, although the males of the species can become aggressive during the breeding season.

In the wild the silver pheasant lives mostly on a diet of seeds and fruit. In captivity it can be fed peanuts, grain and fruit. While it is known to occasionally eat live invertebrates in the wild, it is not a necessary part of the bird's diet.

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      Veterinarian with a puppy