Golden Pheasant Golden Pheasant
Golden Pheasant

Scientific Classification

Common Name
golden pheasant
Genus Species
Chrysolophus (gold crest) pictus (painted)

Fast Facts

Male golden pheasants 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. 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. The female is much duller in coloration than the male. They are 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. Both genders have yellow legs and bill.
Males average 110 cm (44 in.); females average 65 cm (26 in.)
350 to 700 g (12.3 to 24.7 oz)
Includes insects, grubs, berries, seeds, and vegetation
22 to 23 days
Clutch Size
8 to 12 eggs
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 1 to 2 years
China; the species has also been introduced to the UK where it now numbers approximately 1,000 to 2,000 individuals.
Inhabits forests in mountainous regions
Due to its large range, the global population size has not been quantified. However, the species is described as fairly common if suitable habitat is available.
IUCN: Least concern
CITES: Not Listed
USFWS:  Not listed

Fun Facts

Pheasants are not known for their flying skills. They are primarily terrestrial birds, spending most of their time on the forest floor of Asia, though they are capable of short, fast bursts of flight.

Field zoologists have notice that golden pheasants are susceptible to bleaching if they are exposed to sun for long periods of time. The shadowed forests they live in protect their vibrant colors.

Ecology and Conservation

Golden pheasants are one of the most popular of all pheasant species kept in captivity because of their 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. Some historians have suggested that George Washington may have kept them at Mt. Vernon.

The population is declining due to timber extraction, capture for the pet bird trade, and overhunting for food.


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.

McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 March 2020).

BirdLife International. 2016. Chrysolophus pictus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22679355A92812162. Downloaded on 06 November 2018

Photo Credit: Golden Pheasant DC.jpg. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Image by: Sselbor. Year Created: 29 March 2010. Website: License: CC by SA 2.0.