Scientific name: Crossoptilon auritum
Other common names: Blue-Eared Pheasant
The Blue Eared Pheasant is a well-regarded high altitude species that often thrives above the treeline, where it be seen digging in the ground for tubers, roots, insects, and other food items. They have been described as monogamous and, unusual for many pheasants, pairs may stay together all year. They seem to have a larger than average capacity for affection for a pheasant, and many keepers have reported that their Blue Ears follow them around and eat out of their hands. Some sources count the Blue Eared Pheasant as a Chinese endemic.
Here's the unusual pheasant species where the female looks much like the male. However, the Blue Eared Pheasant is badly named – the “ears” aren't blue, and they're not true ears anyway. This quibble aside, the birds have a black crown and brilliant red face which contrasts nicely with the dramatic sweep of snow white feathers that start from under the chin and point upward in two long tufts. The highly arched iridescent tail feathers are an added attraction. The females will have missing or vestigial spurs compared to the males.
1400 - 2300 grams (3 - 5 lbs.)
7 - 12 years
As with any other pheasant, you'll want to locate a good avian veterinarian experienced with pheasants to advise you on the necessary vaccinations, preventive medications, and so on. Since Blue Eared Pheasants are diggers, expect the vet to recommend a good de-worming schedule.
Behavior / temperament:
Yes, they dig, and you will not be able to break them of the habit, but Blue Eared Pheasant fanciers are willing to tolerate this drawback in exchange for possessing such a beautiful yet naturally tame pheasant. Teach this friendly bird to eat from your hand, and it may start to follow you around like a puppy. If you are looking for an affectionate family pet, as well as an aviary beauty, the Blue Eared Pheasant may be the right choice.
As a species encountered at altitude, the Blue Eared Pheasant can be surprisingly tolerant of cold weather. However, if you think about the cold, clear air associated with the high mountains of China and Tibet, you may understand why this species often demands special protection from the damp. Their home must be well-drained, no two ways about it. Of course, when planning any aviary, make sure that there is lots of space and sufficient shade, as well as a shelter from predators and the elements. This species can't resist digging, and if you don't have a rocky substrate, you will have to replace the grass or other ground cover fairly often.
A practical design will include a large area of at least 240 square feet that can't be destroyed in an instant, with excellent drainage perhaps provided by a French drain style system -- and you must still be prepared to replace the greenery quite often. They need protection from the hot sun and direct sunlight, and they also appreciate a perch in an open-front shelter for a night roost. It's one pair to a pen for these monogamous birds rather than the trios or larger male/female ratios seen with some other popular pheasants.
In the wild, Blue Eared Pheasants would forage for a rather omnivorous diet of grass, sprouts, and other vegetable matter, as well as whatever likely insects or bugs that they could catch, and this species finds a lot of its goodies through plain old-fashioned digging for items like tubers and bulbs. The backbone of the captive diet is usually a high quality game bird crumble or pheasant pellet, supplemented with seeds and grains; sprouts; chopped fruits like apples and grapes; milky seeding heads of grasses and other greens; and the usual commercially available live foods like mealworms, waxworms, and crickets. Make sure they always have a source of clean water.
Written by Elaine Radford
small children, bit high strung, wild game, Escape Artist
Dashing through the pen
This pheasant looks like Spock with its winged face feathers tipped up in place like its ears, but I cannot say in my care for them that the male was at all logical like Spock. I mean he knew I or someone else was coming every day to feed them, but I would have to make a mad dash through the back of his pen to get to the next pen and pheasant type I was required to feed so that my legs wouldn't be pecked. Luckily they were usually out in the pen proper versus in the feeding area in the back that was a bit more sheltered. Still, perhaps it sensed my fear after being chased and not defending myself, and so it was bold with me.
Working at a zoo, some may think the zookeepers can treat wild game and other animals as not actually wild, but that's not the case. I'm not sure who would want to get a pheasant as a pet, but I suppose there are hunters down in the South who might consider stocking their hunting grounds with such a pheasant. It would be unwise, however, since it's not native to the U.S., but when did people always do what was wise? If and when any of our pheasants produced eggs, they were collected the same day as we did not have enough space to propagate any one species. We kept everything in pairs, like pre-ark (Noah's ark) flood times. As such, I cannot remember its egg output, nor were we keeping them for meat, so I cannot comment on that front either. They are somewhat entertaining to watch--from a distance..
From animals_care Nov 18 2014 8:43PM