Wildlife of China: The golden pheasant
By Li Yunqi
00:38

‍In Chinese culture, the golden pheasant is thought to be the ancestor of the phoenix, and represents auspiciousness. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the robes of high-ranked bureaucrats were emblazoned with images of the golden pheasant as a symbol of their power and authority.

General information about the golden pheasant. /CGTN Photo

General information about the golden pheasant. /CGTN Photo

The plumage of the males features a kaleidoscope of colors, bringing about feelings of awe and kindling a new appreciation for Mother Nature.

The golden pheasant is native to China and lives in the forests and shrublands of the northwestern regions. Flamboyant as its feathering is, spotting this pheasant in the wild is surprisingly difficult because of its timid character and its affinity for hiding in dark, dense woods.

The bird is under second-class state protection in China.

A golden pheasant walks on a rock. /VCG Photo

A golden pheasant walks on a rock. /VCG Photo

When a golden pheasant is startled, expect it to bolt for a short distance. This species is very clumsy in flight, and so spends most of its life on the ground. However, it would roost in trees at night in order to avoid predators in the wild.

Male (L) and female golden pheasants are strikingly different in appearance. /VCG Photo

Male (L) and female golden pheasants are strikingly different in appearance. /VCG Photo

A male golden pheasant (R) takes a walk with its female companion /VCG Photo

A male golden pheasant (R) takes a walk with its female companion /VCG Photo

A male golden pheasant is a fierce fighter in the presence of females, and has gained the nickname "ruffed bird" because of its peculiar courtship display. During breeding season, a male would spread the stunning plumage over its head and beak like a fan, and emit a high-pitched metallic sound to attract attention from the females.

A closeup of the head of a male golden pheasant. /VCG Photo

A closeup of the head of a male golden pheasant. /VCG Photo

A male spreads its plumage over its head during courtship. /VCG Photo

A male spreads its plumage over its head during courtship. /VCG Photo

The females are very plain in appearance comparing to their male counterparts. They are dark in color and have shorter tails. They're devoted mothers as they can sit on their eggs without eating for three weeks during incubation.

(Cover image designed by CGTN's Li Yueyun)