Pheasant (Reeve’s) / Syrmaticus reevesii

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In the past this pheasant was illegally hunted for its tail feathers for use in Peking Opera costumes

Named after John Reeves, (1774-1856), a British naturalist and businessman who sent the first specimens back to England in 1831

The species is officially recognised by the Guinness Book of records as having the longest tail feathers of any bird

Reeve’s pheasant is found in a range of mountain forests, especially the dense oak forests of Central china where it is found in flocks of 6-10 individuals depending on the time of year. The larger groups which assemble over winter usually disperse with the arrival of the breeding season in the spring. Males establish and advertise their territories from March to June. They are thought to pair with a single female (monogamy) and she lays 6-10 eggs in a nest which is usually built in long grass or under a bush. Incubation is undertaken by the female and the eggs hatch after 24-25 days.

A typical pheasant, the bird forages for food by scratching and digging through the substrate of the forest floor . The food consists mainly of seeds and fruit but flowers, fresh shoots , buds, insects, snails and worms are also taken. Although living and feeding on the forest floor during the day Reeve’s pheasant roosts high off the ground in trees at night.