Pheasants

Pheasants  (Phasianidæ).—About forty species of pheasants inhabit southeastern Asia. They are brilliantly colored and have long tails and crests. The males generally are pugnacious; the male of the Blood Pheasant, dwelling on the heights of the Himalayas, has four or five spurs on each foot.

The pheasant exhibits a remarkable readiness to hybridize with other like birds. The Ring-necked Pheasant is a native of the forests of India and China. It is distinguished by a white ring almost surrounding the neck, and is of smaller size than the common pheasant, somewhat different in markings, and has a shorter tail. It is the common pheasant of the Celestial Empire. Among other species of pheasant may be mentioned Diard's pheasant, a native of Japan; Soemmering's Pheasant, also from Japan, one of the most beautiful pheasants known, but terribly pugnacious; and Reeve's Pheasant, a native of the north of China, in which white is the prevailing color, and the tail is of extraordinary length.

Of somewhat different type are the Golden Pheasant and the Silver Pheasant, both natives of China. The Golden Pheasant is one of the most splendid of the tribe. It has a fine crest, and a ruff of orange and black, capable of being erected at pleasure. The tail is very long. The Silver Pheasant is one of the largest and most powerful of the tribe. The Impeyan Pheasant is a native of the East Indies, and known as the “bird of gold.”