Silver pheasant

Silver pheasant
Lophura nycthemera

Photo by Allan Drewitt (Flickr)

Common name:
silver pheasant (en); faisão-prateado (pt); faisan argenté (fr); faisán plateado (es); silberfasan (de)

Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

The silver pheasant is found in south-eastern Asia, from southern China down to Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

These birds exhibit a large sexual dimorphism, especially because of the large tail of the males. Including the tail, the males are 120-125 cm long while the smaller females are 60-75 cm long. The males weigh 1,1-2 kg while the females weigh 1,1-1,3 kg.

Silver pheasants are found in dry grasslands and tropical moist forests, especially along the forest edge, from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

They forage on the ground, mainly taking seeds and fruits, but also some invertebrates.

Silver pheasants breed in March-June. The males are polygamous, often living in small groups with one male and several females. They nest on the ground, where the female lays 6-9 eggs. Some nests can have up to 15 eggs, but these a most likely from several females. The eggs are incubated for 25-26 days and the precocial chicks are able to feed themselves soon after hatching. Both sexes help the chicks find food and protect them from predators.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be widespread and common. Some populations  are declining locally owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting.

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