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Germain's Peacock Pheasant

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Scientific name: Polyplectron germaini

Other common names: N/A

The basics:
The Germain's Peacock Pheasant, a bird of hot and humid tropical lowland forests, has been hard-hit by hunting and logging in the wild, causing the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) to rate it as a “near threatened” species. Perhaps more versatile than once believed, it manages to hang on in its fragmented habitat and has been observed in both wet and dry areas – and not just at sea level but at altitudes as high as 1,400 meters. In captivity, this species may now be the one of the most widely kept of the peacock pheasants, at least in the United States, since its tolerance to humidity means that it can show well in some wetter European and North American climates.

Appearance:
The adult male Germain's Peacock Pheasant is a well-named bird who wears dark blue or violet eyes, edged in yellowish and black, on his wings and mantle, with more brilliant greenish and greeny-blue eyes on his tail, which he can spread to impress his mate. She is smaller, with a shorter tail, and less well-defined eyes that have been described as triangular or diamond-shaped rather than round. You will rarely have the opportunity to confuse them with another species, but since Grey Peacock Pheasant is sometimes also found in aviculture, then be aware that the adult Greys have a crest lacking in Germain's, while Germain's have a red face compared to the Grey's more yellowish face.

Average weight:
500 - 700 grams (18 - 25 oz.)

Lifespan:
7 - 12 years

Health:
The peacock pheasants including Germain's Peacock Pheasants, are considered vulnerable to the diseases of domestic chickens. Therefore, you must avoid offering them any feed that may contain ground-up domestic poultry in its ingredients. You must never place them with domestic chickens. If you require a foster mother, such as a Bantam, to incubate the eggs, then this hen should be health tested first to make sure she isn't carrying any illness that might impact your peacock pheasants.

Also, newly hatched peacock pheasants, including Germain's, learn to eat by having the mother place small insect items in their bill. If your Bantam doesn't do so, then guess what. The job will be up to you to feed the insect items to the baby chicks yourself with tweezers. Some breeders have successfully placed a Golden Pheasant chick or two with the peacock pheasant babies, so that the peacock pheasant babies can learn to eat by example – but of course this requires that you have Golden Pheasant chicks hatching at the same time as your Germain's Peacock Pheasants, possibly a tricky proposition for the small hobbyist.

Behavior / temperament:
Many people report that their Germain's Peacock Pheasants are calm, naturally tame birds that learn to eat from human hands. As with true peacocks, the males will fan the feathers and show off their beautiful “eyes” for you as well as for their mates.

Housing:
The monogamous Germain's Peacock Pheasant is usually kept in pairs in a large pen or aviary roughly 150 square feet or more. They don't always tolerate the cold very well, so the night roost and winter shelter should allow you to provide warmth. They aren't the most active of pheasants, so make sure the aviary is well designed with vegetation and a dust bathing spot to encourage them to move around a bit. Like other forest pheasants, they do appreciate shade and some protection from direct sunlight, despite their overall high tolerance of wet, humid heat.

Diet:
In the wild, Germain's Peacock Pheasants 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 waterfowl or pheasant pellet, supplemented with seeds and grains; romaine and spinach; 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. Some breeders have reported that this species isn't much for greens, and others have reported that their birds relish both greens and fresh fruit, so it's probably smart to give your pheasants the option. Make sure they always have a source of clean water.

Written by Elaine Radford