Diamond pheasant is an unusual and beautiful species of the pheasant family. This bird often adorns some of the pages of our favorite books. If you have a desire to see them, then this can be done without much difficulty in any reserve in your city. Some believe that the male of this species is the most beautiful bird on our planet. Of course, the diamond pheasant has its own differences from other species. We will tell you about this and much more on this page.
The origin of the species and description
Researchers believe that the diamond pheasant first appeared near East Asia. Some time later, a man brought this species to England. The bird lives and breeds there to this day.
By the way, the diamond pheasant also has a second name – Lady Akhmerst’s pheasant. The species was named by the English diplomat William Pitt Amherst in honor of his wife Sarah, as it was he who brought the bird from China to London in the 1800s.
The lifespan as well as habits of the diamond pheasant in captivity is unknown, as it was quickly tamed by humans. In the reserves, these birds live on average about 20-25 years. We can only assume that in nature they live less in time, since specially trained people carefully look after this beautiful species in nature reserves.
The diamond pheasant is often planted, for example, on farms, because it serves as an excellent decoration for any economy and gets along well with people. Its feathers are a particularly valuable commodity on the market. They are often used to make various fishing gear.
Appearance and features
The Diamond Pheasant is an incredibly beautiful bird. The combination of her feathers allows us to see colors that we have not seen before. They say that the most beautiful part of a pheasant is its tail, which, by the way, is longer than its entire body.
Let’s talk first about the male diamond pheasant. The male sex of the bird is easy to identify by its brilliant multi-colored feathers. The tail has a black and white plumage, and the body is covered with bright green, white, red and yellow feathers. A burgundy crest flaunts on the head of the males, and the back of the neck is covered with white plumage, so at first it may seem that the pheasant’s head is covered in a hood. The beak and legs are greyish. The body of a male can reach 170 centimeters in length, and weight – 800 grams.
The female diamond pheasant has a more nondescript appearance. Almost the entire part of her body is covered with grayish-blue plumage. In general, the female of this pheasant does not differ much from other females. Also, it almost does not differ from the male in its weight, but it is quite inferior in body size, especially the tail.
Where does the diamond pheasant live?
As we said earlier, the birthplace of the diamond pheasant is East Asia. Birds live in this territory today, and more specifically they live in Tibet, China and southern Myanmar (Burma). The main part of these birds stay at an altitude of 2000 to 3000 meters above sea level, and some of them rise even higher to 4600 meters in order to continue their journey in denser thickets of shrubs, as well as bamboo forests.
As for the birds living in the UK, at the moment there is even a population living in the wild. It was “founded” by pheasants that flew out of the enclosures created by man. In England and other nearby countries, this species can often be found in deciduous and mixed forests where brambles and rhododendrons grow, as well as in the English counties of Bedford, Buckingham and Hertford.
Of course, one should not exclude the fact that the bird can also be found in places that we have not mentioned, because there are always cases when a species fights off a flock and then adapts to a new habitat.
What does the diamond pheasant eat?
The diet of diamond pheasants does not stand out for its diversity. Most often, birds eat twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. As their food, they choose either plants or small invertebrate representatives of the fauna.
In East Asia, diamond pheasants love to eat bamboo shoots. Often their menu also includes ferns, grains, nuts and seeds of various varieties. Sometimes the pheasant can be seen hunting spiders and other small insects, such as earwigs.
Interesting fact: The people of China used to call this bird “Sun-hee”, which translated into Russian means “a bird that feeds on kidneys.”
In the British Isles, the diamond pheasant is used to eating mostly plants rather than insects. As we said earlier, birds settle in thickets of blackberries and rhododendrons. In these places they find all the necessary minerals for living. Sometimes birds get out to the seashore and turn over stones there in the hope of finding a couple of invertebrates.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
The diamond pheasant, which is in its homeland in China, which in the UK leads a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. There is one exception to this rule: since birds live high above sea level, they often descend to warmer places during severe winters.
Birds spend the night in trees, and during the day they live in dense thickets of shrubs or bamboo forests (for China) and under the lower branches of low trees (for Great Britain). If suddenly a diamond pheasant begins to feel danger, then he is more likely to choose the option of escape, rather than flight. By the way, these birds run quite fast, so it is not so easy for mammals and other natural enemies to catch them.
Outside their nests, diamond pheasants break into small groups and search for food together, as this is safer way to disorient a possible enemy. In their nests, it is customary for them to break into pairs and spend all the time, including the night, in such a small composition.
Despite all of the above, man has studied the diamond pheasant quite well only in captivity. The data we describe was provided by researchers who observed this species in the wild for a short time.
Social Structure and Reproduction
Diamond Pheasant — an amazing bird, it has not yet been revealed how faithful they are as a couple, as opinions are divided. Some believe that they are monogamous, but also many do not agree with this, because males do not take part in raising offspring.
The bird, like many others, begins its breeding season in the spring, when it gets warmer, most often the mating season begins in the month of April. Males demonstrate themselves in a ritual dance around females, blocking their path. They approach as close as possible to the chosen one, touching her with their beak. Males show all the beauty of their collar, tail, fluffing as much as possible in front of their future companion, showing all their advantages over other males. Collars block almost the entire head, leaving only red tufts visible.
Mating occurs only after the female has accepted the male’s courtship and appreciated his incredible and seductive dance. Clutches usually contain about 12 creamy white eggs. As housing for their future chicks, the diamond pheasant chooses a hole in the ground. It is there that the long-awaited offspring incubate. After 22-23 days, the diamond pheasant babies hatch. It is interesting to note that babies, immediately after birth, can get their own food, naturally, not without the supervision of the mother. The female looks after the chicks around the clock, warms at night, and the male is just nearby.
Natural enemies of the diamond pheasant
The diamond pheasant is especially vulnerable while nesting. Many enemies in nature take advantage of this, because their minks are located on the ground. If the predators get to the males, then the latter fight back or fly away from the chicks, into the shelter to drive the enemy away from the offspring.
Females, in turn, either show a broken wing, thus distracting the enemy, or, conversely, hide so that they are not noticed. One of the most serious enemies is a man who constantly hunts birds. Alas, against such a strong opponent, the birds have very little chance. However, in addition to man, there is a whole list of enemies who want to taste a pheasant for lunch. Often hunters are helped by their true friends — domestic dogs. A fairly large number of animals can be included in the list of inveterate enemies:
- Forest and reed cats
- Kites and others
Depending on the habitat and nesting of the diamond pheasant, many of these unexpected guests will try to disturb the birds. Apart from hunting, more than half of the nests fall into the clutches of enemies. And it should be noted that, unfortunately, the theft of just one egg from a predator does not end there. Most wild animals prefer hunting adults rather than chicks.
Population and species status
One of the most important problems that cannot be ignored is hunting. Most of all, the diamond pheasant suffers from human hands. Hunting them has become a habitual way of life for many shooters. The population in the bird’s homeland, China, also continues to decline due to human activities. Surprisingly, it is not only with weapons that a person inflicts such damage on them. Often, birds cannot find a place to live, as people interfere with their natural habitat, justifying this with their agricultural activities.
Diamond pheasants are successfully bred in captivity, namely in zoos, nurseries and farms intended specifically to increase the population of this beautiful species. The bird also feels good in the varrier, giving good, prolific offspring. The status of this species does not pose a threat of extinction, it is not classified as a species worth worrying about. But we are not in a hurry to draw conclusions that there is no need to be careful with this species, because their numbers have not been fully studied. We must be more vigilant to this beautiful bird and prevent the loss or decline of its population.
The diamond pheasant is an incredible bird that man has not yet fully studied. Of course, people need more time to accurately describe their habits and lifestyle. Despite the fact that this species is not listed in the Red Book, as it breeds well, we still need to protect those creatures that are around us. Each link in the food chain is very important and we should not forget about it.