Scientific name: Lophura nycthemera
Other common names: True Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera nycthemera); Lewis' Silver Pheasant (L. n. lewisi)
The large, showy Silver Pheasant has attracted admirers for centuries. Alas, as with other pheasants with a history that dates back to the early days of aviculture, the Silver Pheasant has been a victim of unknowing interbreeding of the various 15 currently accepted subspecies. Today, some of the natural subspecies are lost to aviculture, and a few are even endangered in the wild. Most specimens in the United States appear to be the nominate subspecies, or perhaps hybrids that contain mostly genetic material from the nominate subspecies, but if you wish to become a serious breeder of a pure line of these birds, there will be no substitute for working with other respected fanciers.
With up to 15 subspecies and any number of possible hybrids floating around, you will need to consult with an advanced fancier and an advanced reference – and probably both – if you need to pinpoint the exact identification of the birds you hold. Otherwise, at least in the United States, it may be safe to assume that you hold a bird that is not 100% pure down to the subspecies level, a mix sometimes referred to as the “American” Silver Pheasant. The generic Silver Pheasant male is a large, splendid black and white pheasant, and perhaps the lovely moire pattern of the black and white stippling in a certain light gives the impression of “silver.” The female is smaller and browner. Both male and females have red faces and red legs – a key field mark needed to distinguish them from a close relative, the Kalij Pheasant.
1.1 - 1.8 kilograms (2.5 - 4 lbs.)
5 - 10 years
The Silver Pheasant has a reputation for being a hardy, adaptable bird – probably one reason, in conjunction with its beauty, that it became so popular. 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:
For the most part, the beautiful Silver Pheasant is considered relatively trouble-free, and it has been suggested as a good beginner's pheasant for those who have the money and space to show it off properly. However, sometimes the male can become very aggressive and territorial, especially in the breeding season, even to the point of attacking his keeper. If they are tried in a mixed species aviary, you are going to need to be very watchful to be sure that the male is not attacking its companions or trying to drive them away from the food and water. They must never be housed with Kalij Pheasants, for they are known to hybridize with that species.
To show at their best, the Silver Pheasant requires a huge, 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. In days gone by, it wasn't uncommon to see Silver Pheasants taught to free-range, but you should consult with a local pheasant keeper to see if this practice is a wise one for your area. Hunters, healthy predator populations, West Nile disease, and any number of other factors may cause you to decide to house the birds in the aviary instead. As with many other male pheasants that make a fine showing, the male is possessive, territorial, and sometimes aggressive. To keep him from becoming a pest to his consort, many breeders will set up a pen or aviary with one male to two females. While Silver Pheasants have admittedly bred in smaller pens, to preserve the beautiful plumage and to avoid neurotic behaviors, offer at least 120 square feet per pair or trio. 200 square feet minimum is much better.
Like many other species with a long history in aviculture, Silver 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 water.
Written by Elaine Radford
ornamental pheasants, beautiful bird
I LOVE THESE BIRDS
I worked on a farm for 2 years and the owner loved birds. He had many ornamental pheasants but these birds truly stood out. They were amazing looking! Not only were they the biggest of the pheasants we had on the farm but they were the most curious and most willing to come to you. You could feed these birds out of your hand they were very trusting. Thanks to the other person I worked with sadly she let one of them escape the area where we kept them and now its lost in the wild somewhere so you have to be very careful with these birds! Sometimes they were a little aggressive (the males only) and would peck you as you tried to feed them which was annoying. These birds were (according to the owner) VERY expensive so if you don't have the money then don't think about buying one. If you do have the money and love birds try raising one of these! I wish I had my old photos of these birds because they were truly magnificent.
From MakiahTime Jul 16 2012 6:43PM
Silver Pheasnts - A Great Experience
I have had a pair of Silver Pheasants for the past two years. Having a lot of experience with fowl, I can easily say that they are the MOST active and interactive pair of birds I ever had. They are moderately tolerant to weather extremes. Moreover, they are VERY easy to breed and the mother plays a great role in hatching the eggs and takes a good care of the chicks too. They look extremely cute while chasing each other in the enclosure. The female has twice raised a healthy brood. Silver Pheasants also interact well with the other birds and I have never seen them showing any hostility towards their companions in the enclosure. But, to keep these birds happy and playful, you must NOT keep them in cramped spaces and provide them with plenty of green vegetable in addition to the bird feed. Its kind of hard to keep them neat and clean because they keep messing up by turning over their feed and water trays and trampling over the nest !! I have lost a pair of chicks to a stray dog and the birds get scared every time my pet dog gets anywhere near them, so make sure that you protect these little creatures from accidents like that. I like them even more than the pair of my Golden Pheasants. Moreover, Silver Pheasants don't like getting handled and easily get scared with disturbances and strangers, so you should be very careful with them in that respect!!.
From WaleedMirza Oct 8 2013 10:00PM