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Green Pheasant: Facts, Uses, Origins & Characteristics (with Pictures)

Phasianus versicolor in Japan

Green Pheasants are birds native to Japan and are deeply embedded in Japanese culture. While you can find them in popular Japanese folklore, these birds are raised as livestock in various parts of the world. They’re also often hunted as game animals.

We’ll discuss all there is to know about Green Pheasants, including their characteristics, uses, and care needs.

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Quick Facts About Green Pheasants

Breed Name: Green Pheasant
Place of Origin: Japan
Uses: Meat, backyard pets, game hunting
Cock (Male) Size: 24 – 36 inches
Hen (Female) Size: 20 – 25 inches
Color: Green, violet, red, brown, black, mottled
Lifespan: 2 – 3 years
Climate Tolerance: Hardy
Care Level: Easy
Production: Meat, eggs

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Green Pheasant Origins

Green Pheasants originate from Japan and are Japan’s national bird. They’ve been around for many years and have even been mentioned in ancient Japanese texts that date back to the 8th century. A pheasant is even featured as a character in a popular Japanese folk tale, Momotaro.

These birds prefer to live in woodlands and grasslands and you can often see them pecking around while going on hikes in various parts of Japan.

Green Pheasant Characteristics

Green Pheasants have a breeding season that starts in the spring and goes on until early summer. These birds are ready to mate once they have grown all their adult feathers.

Hens can lay between 6 to 15 eggs, and the incubation period lasts for a little over 3 weeks. Both male and female Green Pheasants tend to be good parents that can rear young chicks with a relatively high success rate.

These birds are omnivores and enjoy pecking for insects and worms. They can also eat some grains and plants. In captivity, they tend to eat pellets, seeds, and some plants and live food.

Green Pheasants aren’t known to be friendly, but they’re not aggressive either. Instead, they tend to be wary and nervous and will typically hide when they sense danger. So, if you come across a wild Green Pheasant, it’ll most likely be timid and run away if you get too close to it.

Wild Green Pheasants are pretty fast and excellent fliers. They can reach up to speeds of 60 mph when they feel threatened and are attempting to escape predators.

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Uses

Green Pheasant
Green Pheasant (Image Credit: coniferconifer via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

Green Pheasants can be legally hunted in Japan, and they’re also raised as livestock. They’re harvested for meat and are known to have a gamey and more nuanced flavor profile than chickens.

Although Green Pheasants are mostly raised for poultry meat, you can also harvest their eggs. The eggs are about half the size of a chicken egg.

Male Green Pheasants have beautiful plumage, so you can find their feathers being used in art and interior decoration.

Appearance & Varieties

As with most bird species, the male and female Green Pheasant look very different from each other. Male Green Pheasants have an impressive deep green plumage with red faces and violet necks. They also have mottled brown tail feathers.

In contrast, female Green Pheasants have a more muted appearance. They don’t have any green feathers. Instead, they have black, brown, and mottled feathers throughout.

There are three main Green Pheasant hybrids:
  • Southern Green Pheasant
  • Pacific Green Pheasant
  • Northern Green Pheasant

The main difference between these hybrids is appearance. They can have slightly varying shades of green and have more or less blue and violet plumage.

Population & Distribution

Although their population is declining, Green Pheasants are still common, so they’re not on any endangered species watchlist. Since they’re so common, it’s difficult to determine just how many exist in captivity and in the wild. However, about 1.5 million Green Pheasants are raised and released in Japan every year.

Along with inhabiting various areas in the Japanese archipelago, these pheasants were introduced and distributed to other parts of the world, including Western Europe, North America, and Hawaii.

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Are Green Pheasants Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Yes, Green Pheasants are well-suited for small-scale farming. They can also be backyard pets as long as you have an ample amount of space for them. These birds are relatively hardy and can live in climates with cold winters.

However, they’re more commonly raised in large quantities and released for hunting.

Green Pheasants are beautiful birds with a long history in Japanese culture. Today, they can be found in various parts of the world. They’re relatively easy to care for and are often raised and released for hunting season.


Featured Image Credit: Phasianus versicolor in Japan (Alpsdake via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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