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Swinhoe's Pheasant

Lophura swinhoii

Description: This Gallopheasant is one of the larger Pheasant species, with its natural habitat being the forestlands at higher elevations throughout their native region. They are by far one of the more colourful from this group of Pheasants, with the Cock bird contrasting between metallic blues, greens, white, and red. 

Like all Pheasants, the Hens are often duller in colouration. This allows them to nest tightly in the scrub and go unnoticed by predators. The Hen is light brown, with red legs and a red periophthalmic area. There will also be yellow, triangular markings scattered across her back and wings. 

Distribution: This species are native to Taiwan. They're unofficially remarked as being a national animal of the nation, given their colour matching to the Taiwanese flag! Due to habitat loss, their numbers are threatened in the wild.

In Australian Aviculture, Swinhoe's Pheasants are stable. They breed successfully given the correct conditions, and the genetic diversity is decent amongst the population.

Breeding: All Wildfowl-keepers know that the season is well underway, with the Swinhoe's being the first Pheasants to generally breed. Late August through to September the Cock bird will begin to display to the Hen. Courting Pheasants are fascinating, and the Swinhoe's has an amazing show! One is common amongst the Gallopheasants, with a 'burring' of the wings. The second is a jovial hop, while flaring all the colour towards the eyes of the Hens.

You'll see those two innate behaviours that they exhibit in the video below

Nesting: Information on captive bred nesting varies, as some have successfully bred birds in elevated boxes and others directly on the ground. A natural environment, which in our opinion is always better, will involve the Hen choosing a ground based spot with plenty of cover so she isn't disturbed. Always keep in mind external distractions, like vermin, pets, or overactivity in their Aviary. 

Eggs: The literature differs on nest sizes. Most say around half a dozen, but many of our Members (when their birds are on the correct diet and in the right environment) have seen clutches double the size. Incubation generally takes no more than 28 days, and the young are practically independent within days like most ground-dwelling species. 

Diet: In the wild the Swinhoe's Pheasant eats a wide variety of vegetable matter, fallen fruits, berries, seeds, and insects. To replicate the variety we always suggest a high quality pelleted diet with plenty of fresh produce. Live food is a wonderful addition, in particular during the breeding season.

General: The Swinhoe's Pheasant is a truly fantastic bird to keep in private collections. Keep in mind they are large, heavy birds. When startled their innate behaviour is to launch into the air, however in a normal aviary that is limited by the roof. It is not unusual for them then to propel themselves, with some force, around the aviary. When Pheasants are startled, it is best to turn your back to them until they begin to calm down, thus protecting your face. If you regularly enter your aviaries, the birds will become used to your presence. 

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