15 Stunning Golden Pheasant Facts

Did you know that some of the most beautiful birds are actually chickens?

In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of golden pheasant facts, the most amazing chicken in the world!

1. It’s referred to as a “gamebird”

Golden pheasants are part of the order Galliformes, which basically refers to all types of chickens and similar birds. These types of birds are called gamebirds, landfowl, gallinaceous birds, or simply galliforms.

Some other members of this order are turkeys, partridges, pheasants, and peafowl, among about 290 other types of species in this order.

There are 5 families in this order, and golden pheasants are part of the family Phasianidae.

2. Its scientific name comes from Ancient Greek and Latin

These birds are sometimes referred to as “Chinese pheasants” and “rainbow pheasants” as well. Their scientific name is “Chrysolophus pictus,” a combination of an Ancient Greek and Latin word.

The Ancient Greek word “khrusolophos” translates to “with a golden crest,” and “pictus” is Latin for “painted.”

So this basically means the scientific name refers to the fact that these types of chickens are painted in gold, which is understandable if you look at one of them.

golden pheasant facts

3. Golden pheasants are native to Chinese forests

Given the fact that they are also referred to as “Chinese pheasants,” it’s obvious that these birds are natives of China.

TO be more specific, their native habitat is the mountainous forests of Western China.

4. They live in the wild all around the world

Does this mean that these birds can only survive in their natural habitat?

Definitely not! These birds have been introduced to all parts of the world and adapt to their environment very easily. Countries they have been introduced in the wild include the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

Quite a list, isn’t it?

In England, they can be found mainly in the forest of East Anglia and the dense forests of Breckland in Norfolk and Suffolk.

golden pheasant interesting facts
Golden pheasant in nature / Source

5. Male golden pheasants can grow really big

So how big do golden pheasants get?

The males are the biggest and adults can grow between 90 and 105 centimeters (35–41 inches) in length.

Please note that this includes their tail, which is quite long and makes up for about 2/3 of their entire body length!

6. Females are much smaller than their male counterparts

Females, on the other hand, don’t get nearly as big as adult males. The females’ tail is also only about 1/2 of her body length.

Females can grow between 60 and 80 centimeters (24 and 31 inches) in length.

7. The males are distinctively colored

Recognizing a male golden pheasant is very easy, mainly because they are so brightly colored. They have a golden-yellow crest, a scarlet chest (bright red), a black and orange cape, a black-spotted tail, and some bright blue colors near their wings as well.

This, in our opinion, makes the golden pheasant one of the most beautiful birds in the world!

male golden pheasants are brightly colored
Male golden pheasants are brightly colored. / Source

8. Female golden pheasants aren’t nearly as colorful

As brightly as male golden pheasants are colored, so dull are the females with their brownish plumage. They are also a lot less bulky than the males, which makes it very easy to distinguish the two.

This means they look more similar to the common pheasant which has similar plumage.

female golden pheasant

9. What do golden pheasants eat?

These birds have a pretty similar eating habit as regular chickens and mostly feed on grains and leaves. They also tend to eat insects and other invertebrates.

Let’s just say that they aren’t picky with food and will eat whatever is available at the time!

10. They do something interesting in the winter months

The mountainous areas of Western China can have pretty cold winters, which obviously makes food a lot more scarce than during the summer months.

That’s why they have developed a habit to flock near spots that humans live on the edge of the forests during the winter to find food. This consists of wheat leaves and seeds, as well as leftovers from humans.

golden pheasant fun facts

11. They only feed on the ground, they roost somewhere else

In the daytime, you will find these birds picking up food all day long, just as regular chickens do. At night, you won’t find any of these fascinating creatures on the ground.

The reason for this is very simple, they roost in trees!

12. Can golden pheasants fly?

So you see these birds walking around all day long, and you begin to wonder, can golden pheasants fly?

While they do have wings, their ability to fly is very limited. The main reason they need to fly is to get them up onto a branch of a tree to sleep, nothing more.

That’s why their flying capabilities can be described as bad to really bad and you won’t see them flying around your neighborhood any time soon.

fun golden pheasant facts

13. Golden pheasants lay a lot of eggs at once

If you own chickens, then finding 1 egg in their nest is pretty good, finding 2 is pretty amazing.

Now consider the fact that golden pheasants can lay anywhere between 8 to 12 eggs, and you understand that this is a massive amount!

golden pheasant eggs

14. How long is the incubation time of golden pheasants?

One of the most fascinating golden pheasant facts is that the males have a similar courtship ritual as peacocks, and also a very distinctive metallic call which they use to attract the females.

The incubation period of the golden pheasant eggs is anywhere between 22 and 23 days.

courtship ritual golden pheasant
Courtship ritual / Jmhullot / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en

15. There are several mutations of golden pheasants

Have you ever seen one of these birds in zoos or nature parks, and noticed that they look quite different than the ones depicted in this article?

Then it’s very likely that you have seen a hybrid golden pheasant!

There are countless mutations of these birds, including the dark-throated, yellow, cinnamon, salmon, peach, splash, mahogany, and silver golden pheasant.

To make a clear distinction, the full-blood golden pheasants are referred to as “red-golden.”

All the hybrids do have one thing in common though, as they most probably have the blood of Lady Amherst’s pheasants in their lineage.

golden pheasant closup head