Green Pheasant

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Scientific name: Phasianus versicolor

Other common names: Japanese Pheasant; Versicolor Pheasant

The basics:
The Green Pheasant is native to Japan, where its natural habitat is lightly-wooded areas near cultivated fields and meadows. The Green Pheasant is by far Japan's most commonly-reared game bird. This attractive pheasant has been introduced as a gamebird to other locations around the world, including Hawaii and Western Europe. An attempt at release the Green Pheasant in North America was unsuccessful, as the birds hybridized with the Ringneck Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus). The same happened in Western Europe, but there are reports of a pure breeding population in Norfolk, England. They are also reared in the UK, but in smaller numbers also for game shoots.

There are three subspecies of Green pheasant: the Southern Green Pheasant (P. versicolor versicolor); Pacific Green Pheasant (P. v. tamensis) and the Northern Green Pheasant (P. v. robustipes). T Japan also has another native pheasant, the Copper Pheasant but the populations, though they can interbreed, seldom interact with one another.

As in most other pheasant species, the males and females are quite different in appearance, with females being drabber in colour and strongly mottled. The mantle has a dark, almost black fringe the extends up to the narrow, pale brown border and bears a green sheen near the tip. The underside of the female is much more vermiculated and blotched than in any other pheasant species. In females the wings are about 20cm long and the tale is about 22cm long. The colour allows the females to blend with their preferred nest sites, tall grasses.

Males have a green crown, blue throat and a purplish-violet throat. Their mantle is green and iridescent, typically with a few small, buff, vermiculations on the lower part. Back and rump are green, though tinged with olive or bluish-grey. The retrices are dark olive and bear broad black bars and pinkish tips. Scapular feathers are barred black and the pale undersides are marked with chestnut. The underside of the male is dark green, tinged with blue or purple. Wing size in males are about 22cm an the tails grow to between 30cm and 42cm long.

Like ringneck peasants, to which they are closely related, these are tall and full-bodied birds with long, thin, tails.

Average weight:
0.9 - 2 kilograms (2 - 4.5 lbs.)

2 - 7 years

Most health issues are related to improper nutrition or a poor living environment. These are outdoor game birds and do not do well inside. They need plenty of air flow and relatively low densities to prevent respiratory infections. They bathe both in dust and in water and dust baths should be provided to prevent parasite infections. Your avian veterinarian will also guide you in the health needs of your bird.

Behavior / temperament:
These pheasants are a nervous and flighty birds that are always on alert and flee at any sign of danger. Their typical behaviour is to take off vertically to flee, so enclosures must be tall to allow for this.

If allowed to roam free then these are relatively easy birds to house. They do best in well planted brushy environments with plenty of grass tufts for laying and cover. They will need lots of brush cover during the day and a predator proof enclosure at night. They are tolerant of extreme temperatures and can be kept outside all year round. If keeping in an enclosure this should be very large, with plenty of brush, grass tufts and reed beds inside. It should be enclosed with netting on all sides.

Green pheasants typically breed between April and early June. Both males and females become sexually mature within the first year and they also attain adult plumage in this year. Typically they lay between 6 and 12 olive-coloured eggs that hatch in between 23 and 25 days. The females prefer to lay their eggs on the ground in tufts of grass or beds of reeds and any enclosures should have grass tufts during the mating season to allow eggs to be laid naturally. Males are not aggressive and you can breed several hens to a single male. If rearing intensively, you can remove the eggs as they are laid, which will induce the hen bird to lay more. These eggs can be hatched in an incubator or fostered by a broody chicken.

Pheasants are omnivores and in the wild they forage for grass seeds, sprouts, insects, grubs and worms. As a pet or intensively reared game bird, a healthy diet would include includes game bird crumble, seeds, green veggies, insects, and grains. Like all birds they need plenty of fresh, clean, water which should be available at all times. If these are suspended slightly off the ground, all the better as the pheasants cannot foul them.

Written by Dyfed Lloyd Evans


display birds, iridescent green plumage


attitude, pretty penny


Japan, commercial purposes

Green Pheasant Health Tip

Green Pheasant

From DLlE Sep 27 2012 9:00AM


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