Green Pheasant

Hahn Stained pheasant (Phasianus versicolor)

The Colorful Pheasant (Phasianus versicolor ) is a Hühnervogelart from the family of pheasant -like. It is endemic to the Japanese main islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, where he inhabited bush and coppice with stock of the hills on the edge of the cultural landscape. In Hawaii and North America, the species was introduced. Some authors of the species status is in doubt and the three sub-species are considered subspecies group of the pheasant (Phasianus colchicus). According to other authors of the colored pheasant with it forms a superspecies. Sometimes hybridization occurs with the copper pheasant.


The cock pheasant Stained reaches 75-89 cm in length. Of this amount, 27 to 42.5 cm on the tail. The wing length is 225-243 mm and the weight between 0.9 and 1.1 kg. The hen is much smaller with 53-62 cm, the tail of about 21-28 cm shorter. The wing length of the hen is 200-230 mm, the weight is 0.8-0.9 kg. Thus, the non-ferrous pheasant is significantly smaller than the pheasant (Phasianus colchicus).

When you tap the nominate the dark plumage of the upper head shining dark green, the pronounced ear tufts are greenish black. The eye area is up to a shiny blue spot below the eye unbefiedert and scarlet beak greenish to yellowish horn color and the iris brownish yellow to amber. The neck has a metallic shine reddish blue. Neck, chest, lower back and front are dark bronze-green. The belly center is like the under tail-coverts brownish black, the latter are also lined with green. The black scapulars bear beige stem strokes and Subterminalsäume which are again lined with narrow black, and a broad, red-brown bottom seams. The upper wing-coverts are blue-gray, lined with medium and large reddish brown. The black- brown wings wearing beige cross straps and a similar mottling. Show on the anterior dorsal feathers bright yellow edges, black centers. Rear back, rump and upper tail-coverts are olive green to gray-green. The tail feathers are predominantly green gray. The middle part is provided with a relatively broad black cross bands and the hems are iridescent brown-red.

The coloring of the hen differs from that of the Pheasant by a strong, dark mottling. The black feathers of the top wear beige stem strokes and Subterminalsäume. The peaks shining metallic green. The underside is strong dark wavy and blotchy. Young birds resemble the hens, but have a shorter tail.


The voice is similar to the pheasant in most characteristics, but the Revierruf is audible shorter. It is similar to the copper pheasant.

Distribution and population

The Colorful pheasant is distributed on the main Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. It also occurs on the adjacent smaller islands Sado, Tanegashima, Yakushima, and the Goto and the Izu Islands. In Hawaii and parts of North America (among Delaware and Virginia ), he was naturalized.

In their natural habitat, the species is common. The annual hunting bag, are estimated at 500,000 birds and the stocks were supported mainly in the 1980s by extensive exposures.

Geographical variation

There have been described up to nine subtypes, of which only three generally recognized. They differ mainly in the color of the vertex and the Bürzelgefieders. In Ph. v. tanensis the upper tail-coverts are bronze green, the breast and the bottom a higher gloss than the nominate. Ph. v. robustipes has a bronze green crown and a striking white eye-streak over.

  • Ph. v. robustipes Kuroda, 1919 - Sado and the majority of Honshū
  • Ph. v. versicolor Vieillot, 1825 - Southeastern Honshu along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea and Kyushu
  • Ph. v. tanensis Kuroda, 1919 - eastern and mid- Honshu ( Kii peninsula, Izu and Miura ), Izu Islands ( Izu - Oshima and Niijima ), Tanegashima and Yakushima and Amakusa Islands

Way of life

In its habitat requirements, the stained pheasant is not significantly different from some of the eastern subspecies of pheasant. He colonized by bushes, copses or light coniferous and deciduous forests with stock of low and hill country to heights of 1200 m. Often you can find him in the cultural landscape, where he seeks out foraging tea plantations, grain and potato fields, or even parks and gardens.

Also, behavior, reproduction and diet are similar to those of the pheasant. However, the species seems rather monogamous to live as a polygamist and is very site- faithful. In winter, socialize small squads, sometimes even large companies are to be found on good food sources, sometimes near farms together with household chickens. It will be in the winter but not infrequently encountered individual taps. The nest usually consists of 7-9 eggs, which are slightly smaller with 44 × 33 mm than that of the pheasant. The breeding season begins in southern Kyushu as early as March, but is otherwise rather from April to June. The eggs 23 to 28 days are incubated on Honshu.


Due to the predominantly dark green coloration of the body plumage of colored pheasant is usually regarded as a separate species, which forms a superspecies with the pheasant. The color difference is but overvalued according to some authors, because other features suggest a direct link to the torquatus - group sub-species of pheasant. In particular, concerning the nature of the breast feathers represent the three subspecies represents the continuation of a series klinalen, as it appears from west to east in the subspecies of pheasant. These springs are slightly notched at the western subspecies at the top and wide margins black, however, scored more to the east and narrow black margins to bespitzt. The gray- green rump connects the pheasant also stained with the eastern subspecies of pheasant. Also in behavior and physiology of colored pheasant shows no significant difference and the offspring with the pheasant is always fruitful. Due to these facts, the species status of stained pheasant by some authors is - as also by the IUCN - questioned and incorporated the three subspecies of pheasant stained according versicolor as a subspecies group in Phasianus colchicus.