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Home > Birds > Lady Amherst’s Pheasant: Pictures, Facts, Uses, Origins & Characteristics

Lady Amherst’s Pheasant: Pictures, Facts, Uses, Origins & Characteristics

lady amherst pheasant

The Lady Amherst’s Pheasant is native to Burma (Myanmar) and China but was introduced to England by the Governor-General of Bengal, William Pitt Amherst, in 1828.

They were named after his wife, Countess Sarah Amherst, and were initially brought to Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, England. Here, they were interbred and shot for the game.

Today, their numbers have dwindled in the U.K. to the point that they are considered extinct there (although there’s the occasional sighting), but they still have a robust population in their native country.

Here, we take a look at Lady Amherst’s Pheasant in closer detail, along with a few interesting facts about this unique bird.

divider-birdsQuick Facts About the Lady Amherst’s Pheasant

Breed Name: Lady Amherst’s Pheasant
Place of Origin: China and Myanmar
Uses: Ornamental and Game
Male Size: 51 – 68 inches (including tail feathers)
Female Size: 26 – 27 inches
Male Colors: Green, blue, white, red, and yellow mix
Female Colors: Dark to reddish brown
Lifespan: 7 – 12 years (up to 19 in captivity)
Climate Tolerance: Hardy
Care Level: Relatively easy
Fertility: 6 – 12 eggs

The Lady Amherst’s Pheasant Origins

The Lady Amherst’s Pheasant is a native species from southwestern China and Myanmar. They were introduced in the east of England in the early 1800s, where they were used for game and breeding.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has them listed as Least Concern (LC), but the population is on the decline (although the last report was in 2018).

Lady Amherst’s Pheasant
Image Credit: Pixabay


Lady Amherst’s Pheasant Characteristics

Lady Amherst’s Pheasants have shy temperaments and tend to hide in dark underbrush while foraging, making them difficult to spot. This could also explain why they are considered extinct in England, though occasional sightings have been reported over the years.

Lady Amherst’s Pheasants prefer to run rather than fly, but they are quite capable of flying because they roost in trees overnight and spend their days foraging for food on the ground. When they run, they tend to dart quickly and will flap their wings briefly to rise above the ground.

The breeding season for these pheasants starts in May and will last until autumn. They nest on the ground under a bush or branches, and they lay six to 12 eggs and incubate them for usually 23 to 24 days.

The chicks can feed themselves almost immediately after hatching. They follow a female who shows them food sources, and they don’t go back to their nest.

Lady Amherst’s Pheasants are closely related to Golden Pheasants and can crossbreed. However, this is usually discouraged because it is thought that hybrids will damage the pure bloodlines.


The Lady Amherst’s Pheasants have been used primarily as game birds for their meat and as ornamental birds due to the male’s beautiful plumage. These birds have been used as food mainly at the local and national levels, but it’s internationally that they have been kept as pets or for display purposes.

Appearance & Varieties

Appearance is where Lady Amherst’s Pheasants truly shine — at least, the males do. The males have a ruff or cape of black-and-white feathers, and their bodies are a vibrant range of white, red, blue, and yellow feathers. Their heads are silvery white with black barring, a red crest, and a metallic green crown. They also have gorgeous, long, gray barred tail feathers that can be as long as 31.5 inches.

Like most female birds, the female doesn’t have any of these amazing colors, but they are a pretty brown to reddish-brown with black barring. This helps them camouflage while they nest on the ground.


In their natural habitat, Lady Amherst’s Pheasants typically live in bamboo thickets and forests. Since they live in such dense forested areas and spend most of their time on the ground, they aren’t easily seen. They are also used to living in high altitudes of 6,000 to 15,000 feet.

While these birds aren’t endangered, their population is on the decline because of loss of habitat and being hunted for food.

divider-birdsAre Lady Amherst’s Pheasants Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Lady Amherst’s Pheasants make lovely birds to keep on a farm, small or large. However, they are ornamental birds, so they won’t bring in any real income, unless you plan on breeding and selling them to others.

If you also plan to own Golden Pheasants, you need to keep the two species separate because they will breed. Additionally, it’s best to wait until the males have come into their full colors before mating them with the females. This typically takes about 2 years.

Housing needs to be roomy due to those long tail feathers of the male, and they need shade and access to bushes and trees.

Lady Amherst’s Peasants are hardy and quite easy to care for, and they do make wonderful and eye-catching birds.

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Featured Image Credit: vinsky2002, Pixabay

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