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Edwards's Pheasant

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Scientific name: Lophura edwardsi

Other common names: N/A

The basics:
The critically endangered Edwards's Pheasant may now be extinct in the wild. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), there were no confirmed sightings of this endemic Vietnamese species between 1930 and its rediscovery in 1996. This lowland rainforest species lost almost all of its habitat to logging, clearing for agriculture, and Vietnam War era herbicide spraying. The last known wild individual was collected in 2000. An intensive search in 2011 didn't turn up any remaining wild specimens.

For the time being, the continued existence of this pheasant depends on captive breeding, probably with the assistance of experts from the World Pheasant Association. Therefore, this species is only recommended to serious and experienced breeders who are willing to participate in proper screening to make sure that they avoid inbreeding and hybridization of the remaining individuals. Fortunately, they seem to be doing well in captivity, and they have been singled out as one of the few pheasant species that is tolerant of a rainy climate.

Appearance:
The male is an attractive if smallish metallic blue-black pheasant with a small white crest and a bright red face. The much drabber female is an unremarkable brown bird with no crest.

Average weight:
1,000 - 1,100 grams (2.2 - 2.4 lbs.)

Lifespan:
5 - 10 years

Health:
Edwards's Pheasant has a reputation for being a hardy, calm bird. Nonetheless, you will want a good avian veterinarian experienced with pheasants to advise you on the necessary vaccinations, preventive medications, and so on required to keep your birds in the best of health.

Behavior / temperament:
Calm, rather quiet Edwards's Pheasants can be trained to come to the hand for treats. Don't mix young chicks with chicks of more aggressive species that might push them around.

Housing:
To show at their best, Edwards's Pheasant requires a large, well-planted aviary that provides cover, plenty of perches at different levels, a dust bathing and sunning spot, and a warm shelter to protect against wind, damp, and cold. They also need protection against predators. This species is usually kept in pairs, instead of trios.

Diet:
Like other Lophura species, Edwards's Pheasants are not particularly difficult to feed. In the wild, they would forage for a rather omnivorous diet of grass, sprouts, and other vegetable matter, as well as whatever likely insects or bugs they could catch. The backbone of the captive diet is usually a high quality game bird crumble or pheasant pellet, supplemented with seeds and grains; sprouts, 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 grit and water.

Written by Elaine Radford

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