Our Beautiful World

Pheasants, Phasianinae

Blood Pheasant, Ithaginis cruentus
Great Argus, Argusianus argus

Photo: Gary Noon


Pheasants refer to some members of the Phasianinae subfamily of Phasianidae in the order Galliformes.
Pheasants are among the world's most beautiful birds. All but one of the approximately 49 species, and many more
subspecies, of pheasants are native to Asia. They inhabit a variety of habitats, from the snowy Himalayas to the steamy
jungles of Indonesia.

Grouse are a group of birds from the order Galliformes. They are sometimes considered a family Tetraonidae, though the
American Ornithologists' Union and many others include grouse as a subfamily Tetraoninae in the family Phasianidae.

Pheasants are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism, males being highly ornate with bright colours and adornments
such as wattles and long tails. Males are usually larger than females and have longer tails. Males play no part in rearing
the young. Pheasants typically eat seeds and some insects.

The best-known is the Common Pheasant, which is widespread throughout the world in introduced feral populations
and in farm operations.
Various other pheasant species are popular in aviaries, such as the Golden Pheasant, Chrysolophus pictus.

Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Phasianinae

Genus Afropavo
Genus Argusianus
  Great Argus
, Argusianus argus
  Double-banded Argus, Argusianus bipunctatus
Argusianus bipunctatus is known only from a portion of a primary feather of uncertain origin.      Believed to be extinct and was found on Tioman Island off the Malay Peninsula.
 Genus Catreus
Cheer Pheasant, Catreus wallichi
Genus Chrysolophus -
Ruffed Pheasants (2)
  Golden Pheasant, Chrysolophus pictus
  Lady Amherst's Pheasant, Chrysolophus amherstiae
Genus Crossoptilon -
Eared Pheasants (4)
  White-eared Pheasant, Crossoptilon crossoptilon
  Tibetan Eared Pheasant, Crossoptilon harmani
  Brown Eared Pheasant, Crossoptilon mantchuricum
  Blue Eared Pheasant, Crossoptilon auritum
Genus Gallus
Genus Ithaginis
  Blood Pheasant
, Ithaginis cruentus
Genus Lophophorus
Genus Lophura -
Gallopheasants (12)
English Norsk Latin
Bulwer's Pheasant Brudefasan Lophura bulweri
Siamese Fireback Pompongfasan Lophura diardi
Edwards' Pheasant Edelfasan Lophura edwardsi
Crestless Fireback Gulhalefasan Lophura erythrophthalma
Vietnamese Pheasant Annamfasan Lophura hatinhensis
Hoogerwerf's Pheasant   Lophura hoogerwerfi
Crested Fireback Ridderfasan Lophura ignita
Imperial Pheasant Keiserfasan Lophura imperialis
Salvadori's Pheasant Sumatrafasan Lophura inornata
Kalij Pheasant Kalifasan Lophura leucomelanos
Silver Pheasant Sølvfasan Lophura nycthemera
Swinhoe's Pheasant Fagerfasan Lophura swinhoii
Genus Pavo
Genus Phasianus - Typical Pheasants (2)
  Green Pheasant, Phasianus versicolor
  Common Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
Genus Polyplectron
- Peacock-Pheasants (8-9)
English Norsk Latin
Gray Peacock-Pheasant Filigransfasan Polyplectron bicalcaratum
Bronze-tailed Peacock-Pheasant Brunfasan Polyplectron chalcurum
Palawan Peacock-Pheasant   Polyplectron emphanum
Germain's Peacock-Pheasant Plettfasan Polyplectron germaini
Mountain Peacock-Pheasant Perlefasan Polyplectron inopinatum
Hainan Peacock-Pheasant   Polyplectron katsumatae
Malayan Peacock-Pheasant Malayfasan Polyplectron malacense
Palawan Peacock-Pheasant Påfuglfasan Polyplectron napoleonis
Bornean Peacock-Pheasant Smaragdfasan Polyplectron schleiermacheri
Genus Pucrasia
  Koklass Pheasant, Pucrasia macrolopha
Genus Rheinardia
  Crested Argus, Rheinartia ocellata
Genus Syrmaticus
- Long-tailed Pheasants (5)
English Norsk Latin
Elliot's Pheasant Monarkfasan Syrmaticus ellioti
Hume's Pheasant Burmafasan Syrmaticus humiae
Mikado Pheasant Mikadofasan Syrmaticus mikado
Copper Pheasant Kobberfasan Syrmaticus soemmerringii
Reeves' Pheasant Kongefasan Syrmaticus reevesii
Genus Tragopan

Subfamily Tetraoninae , Grouse - see own page

Blood Pheasant, Ithaginis cruentus

Blood Pheasant, Ithaginis cruentus

Photo: © Allan L Drewitt

The Blood Pheasant, Ithaginis cruentus, is the only species in genus Ithaginis of the pheasant family. This relatively small,
short-tailed pheasant is widespread and fairly common in eastern Himalayas, ranging across India, Nepal and Bhutan,
where they prefer coniferous or mixed forests and scrub areas near the snowline. They move their range depending on the
seasons, and are found at higher elevations during the summer. With snow increasing in fall and winter they move to lower

Blood pheasants have the size of a small fowl, about 43 cm in length with a short convex, very strong black bill, feathered
between bill and eye, and a small crest of various coloured feathers. The colour of the plumage above is dark ash, with
white shafts, the coverts of the wings various tinged with green, with broad strokes of white through the length of each
feather, the feathers of the chin deep crimson; on the breast, belly and sides feathers are lance-shaped, of various length,
the tips green with crimson margins, collectively resembling dashes of blood scattered on the breast and belly. The tail
consists of twelve sub-equal feathers, shafts white, rounded, the ends whitish, the coverts a rich crimson red.

Both males and females have red feet and a distinct ring of bare skin around the eye that typically is crimson colored,
but is orange in a few subspecies. Females are more uniformly colored, being overall dull brown and often with some
gray to the nape. Although some of the subspecies that have been described are highly distinctive, others are not,
and some variation appears to be clinal. Consequently the number of valid subspecies is disputed, with various authorities
recognizing between 11 and 15. They mainly vary in the plumage of the males, especially the amount of red or black to
the throat, forehead, neck, chest and tail, and the presence or absence of rufous in the wings.

Blood Pheasant, Ithaginis cruentus
Photo © François Bernar, Belgium

Ithaginis cruentus affinis - Sikkim region in India
I. c. beicki - Beick's Blood Pheasant - north central China
I. c. berezowskii - Berezovski's Blood Pheasant - mountains of central China
I. c. clarkei - Clarke's Blood Pheasant - southwest China
I. c. cruentus - Himalayan Blood Pheasant - northern Nepal to northwestern Bhutan
I. c. geoffroyi - Geoffroy's Blood Pheasant - western China and southeast Tibet
I. c. kuseri - Kuser's Blood Pheasant - upper Assam in India and southeast Tibet
I. c. marioni - Mrs. Vernay's Blood Pheasant - mountains of SW China and NE Myanmar
I. c. michaelis - Bianchi's Blood Pheasant - north central China
I. c. rocki - Rock's Blood Pheasant - southwestern China
I. c. sinensis - David's Blood Pheasant - central China
I. c. tibetanus - Tibetan Blood Pheasant - eastern Bhutan and southern Tibet

Great Argus, Argusianus argus

Great Argus, Argusianus argus
Photo © Peter Stubbs

The Great Argus, Argusianus argus (also known as Phoenix in some Asian areas) is a brown-plumaged pheasant with
a small blue head and neck, rufous red upper breast, black hair-like feathers on crown and nape, and red legs.
The male is among the largest of all pheasants. He measures 160–200 cm in total length, including a tail of 105–143 cm,
and weighs 2.–2.75 kg. It has very long tail feathers. The male's most spectacular features are its huge, broad and greatly
elongated secondary wing feathers decorated with large ocelli. The female is smaller and duller than male, with shorter
tails and less ocelli. She measures 72–76 cm in total length, including a tail of 30–36 cm, and weighs 1.6–1.7 kg.
Young males attain adult plumage in their third year.

The Great Argus is distributed in the jungles of Borneo, Sumatra and Malay Peninsula in southeast Asia. It feeds on
forest floor in early morning and evening. Unusual among Galliformes, the Great Argus has no oil gland and the hen lays
only two eggs.

Great Argus, Argusianus argus
Photo © Peter Stubbs

Though the Great Argus is not as colorful as other pheasants, its display surely ranks among the most remarkable.
The male clears an open spot in the forest and prepares a dancing ground. He announces himself with loud calls to attract
females, then he dances before her with his wings spread into two enormous fans, revealing hundred of "eyes" while his
real eyes are hidden behind it, staring at her.

Despite displays similar to polygamous birds and though the Great Argus is thought to be polygamous in the wild,
it is actually monogamous.

ARKive video - Male great argus calling and displaying to female

Male Great Argus calling and displaying to female
Video and Auduo: World Pheasant Association
Audio: BBC Natural History Unit

The scientific name of the Great Argus was given by Carolus Linnaeus in reference to the many eyes-like pattern on its
wings. Argus is a hundred-eyed giant in Greek mythology.

Due to ongoing habitat loss and hunted in some areas, the Great Argus is evaluated as Near Threatened on the
IUCN Red List. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

Don't forget to go to http://www.gbwf.org/ for lots of more info on Pheasants.

Now more than 550 birds on our site! List here.


over 250


over 500


over 225
Web www.vulkaner.no

This page has been made with Macromedia Dreamweaver