Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant



COMMON NAME: golden pheasant, Chinese pheasant
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
ORDER: Galliformes
FAMILY: Phasianidae
GENUS SPECIES: Chrysolophus (gold crest) pictus (painted)


DESCRIPTION: Both sexes have yellow legs and bill
MALE Males have a golden-yellow crest with a light tinge of red at the tip. The face, throat, chin, and the sides of neck are rusty tan. The wattles and orbital skin are yellow; the ruff or cape is light orange; the upper back is green and the rest of the back and rump is golden-yellow. Males also have a scarlet breast and scarlet and light chestnut flanks and underparts. The tertiaries are blue; the scapulars are dark red; the central tail feathers are black spotted with cinnamon, and the tip of the tail is cinnamon buff. The upper tail coverts are the same color as the central tail feathers.
FEMALE The hen is much duller in coloration than the male. The female is brown with dark barring and a buff face and throat. The breast and sides are barred buff and blackish brown, and the abdomen is plain buff.
SIZE: Mature males grow larger than females
MALE Averages 110 cm (44 in.)
FEMALE Averages 65 cm (26 in.)
WEIGHT: No data
DIET: Includes insects, grubs, berries, seeds, and vegetation
INCUBATION: 22-23 days
CLUTCH SIZE 8-12 eggs
SEXUAL MATURITY: Approximately 1-2 years
LIFE SPAN: No data
RANGE: China
HABITAT: Inhabits forests in mountainous regions
CITES No data
USFWS No data


1. Pheasants are not known for their flying skills. They are primarily terrestrial birds, spending most of their time on the forest floors of Asia, though they are capable of short, fast bursts of flight.
2. Field zoologists have notice that golden pheasants are susceptible to bleaching if they are exposed to sun for long amounts of time. The shadowed forests they live in protect their vibrant colors.


Golden pheasants are one of the most popular of all pheasant species kept in captivity because of its beautiful plumage and hardy nature. In fact, records as early as 1740 suggest this pheasant was the first species of pheasant brought to North America. Historians say there is evidence that even George Washington may have kept them at Mt. Vernon! However, this animal's natural history is not well known.


Delacour, J. 1977. The Pheasants of the World. 2nd ed. World Pheasant Association and Spur Publications, Hindhead, U.K.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, Dorst: Blandford Press, 1981.

Perrins, Dr. Christopher M. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds: The Definitive Reference to Birds of the World. New York: Prentice Hall Press. 1990.