The golden pheasant is a small but striking game bird from the forests of western China. While the female is a subdued brown color for camouflage, the male golden pheasant is known for its bright colors, golden crest, and long dramatic tail feathers.
The golden pheasant has been kept as an ornamental bird for hundreds of years, first in China and then around the world.
Golden pheasants can be raised for their meat and eggs. Some farmers raise them to be released as game birds for hunters. The male’s colorful feathers are often used to make fishing flies.
Quick Facts about Golden Pheasants
|Breed Name:||Golden Pheasant|
|Place of Origin:||China|
|Uses:||Meat, eggs, feathers, hunting|
|Rooster (Male) Size:||35—41 Inches with Tail|
|Hen (Female) Size:||24—31 Inches with Tail|
|Color:||Males: multicolor; Females: brown|
|Climate Tolerance:||Cold and heat tolerant|
|Other Names:||Chinese Pheasant; Rainbow Pheasant|
Golden Pheasant Origins
The golden pheasant originated in western China. Its natural habitat type is forested and mountainous. Like other game birds, the golden pheasant lives primarily on the ground and only flies for short distances. It forages for seeds, berries, and insects on the forest floor.
The golden pheasant spread from China to other parts of the world. They have been kept in captivity in the US since colonial times.
They belong to the genus Chrysolophus along with 1 other pheasant species, the Lady Amherst’s pheasant. These 2 pheasants are known for the feathered ruffs (or capes) displayed by the males in courtship displays.
Golden Pheasant Characteristics
Golden pheasants usually mate for life and live as monogamous pairs, but some males have been observed to have harems of a few females. The males engage in elaborate courtship displays, showing off their colorful plumage. They dance and fluff out their neck feathers to impress the females.
Male golden pheasants can be aggressive towards each other, especially when competing for females.
Female golden pheasants lay between 6–12 eggs per clutch. The eggs are small and tan in color.
Golden pheasant feathers are prized in the fishing fly industry. The male’s feathers, with their different colors and patterns, are used to make a variety of flies that mimic insects and even shrimp.
Golden pheasants can be raised for their meat and eggs, although they are smaller than other pheasant species. Some farmers raise them to release as game birds for hunters. Others keep golden pheasants as ornamental pets, as the males are physically striking.
Appearance & Varieties
Female and juvenile golden pheasants have dull coloring to camouflage them from predators. The males are known for their multiple bright colors and long flowing tails.
Golden pheasants are named for the golden coloring of the crest, but they also have areas of orange, green, blue, and red. The tail feathers are spotted.
Different color variations of golden pheasants have been developed over the years. Besides the distinctive original coloring, they can also be yellow, silver, cinnamon, peach, and salmon.
The golden pheasant is not an endangered species. There is still a large population in its native China, and it has been introduced into many other parts of the world.
They can live in the wild, especially in mountainous forested areas, and are also kept as captive birds. They can be found throughout Europe, the Americas, and Australia.
Are Golden Pheasants Good for Small-Scale Farming?
The golden pheasant is a good choice for novice small-scale poultry keepers. It is a hardy bird for both cold and warm climates. Their compact size is good for beginners and small enclosures.
Captive goldens can be quite friendly and tame, but males that are kept together will often display and fight. Females will also sometimes pick at one another. Like chickens, they mostly stay on the ground and tend to run rather than fly. They will perch off the ground at night.
The golden pheasant is a beautiful, exotic-looking bird that you can keep in your backyard! Fans of the golden pheasant report they are like potato chips…once you start with one you just might get hooked!
Featured Image Credit: webandi, Pixabay