Pheasant (Lady Amherst’s) / Chrysolophus amherstiae

Did you know...

The bird is named after Sarah, Countess Amherst, wife of Sir William Pitt Amherst, Governor of Bengal who sent the first specimen to London in 1828

Lady Amherst’s pheasant is easily recognisable by the distinctive plumage of the male bird; a black and silver head, long grey tail and rump and red, white blue and yellow body plumage. The male’s plumage and especially the characteristic cape of feathers on the head and neck are used in display. Like all female pheasants, the Lady Amherst’s female has drab colouration, which helps to camouflage her when she is incubating eggs – see image below.

Inhabitants of the forests of South West china and neighbouring Myanmar, they are predominantly ground dwelling birds, preferring to run rather than fly. They can fly however, and sometimes when startled suddenly fly upwards at great speed. They fly to the trees to roost when night descends.

They are omnivorous and feed on a range of grain, berries, shoots, leaves and a range of invertebrates.

Following a courtship in which the male displays to attract a female, 8-12 eggs are laid in a nest on the ground; incubation lasts 22 days.