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Perhaps one of the most colourful birds that you're likely to spot in the British countryside, the golden pheasant - or Chinese pheasant, as it is sometimes known - was originally introduced to Britain from Asia. The golden pheasant is a popular bird because of its bright plumage.
It would be hard to mistake the male golden pheasant for a different bird, but the female is a paler shade of brown than the female common pheasant. The male golden pheasant is recognisable from its vibrant yellow crown, yellow back, dark wings and upper neck, red underparts, and its finely barred tail.
Similar to the common pheasant, the golden pheasant eats a varied diet of seed, grain, berries, grubs, invertebrates, as well as other vegetation. You're unlikely to see one of these fellows in your garden, but if you have wild golden pheasants in your area, offering a seed mix might tempt them to pay your garden a visit.
Just like the common pheasant, the male will mate with several females during a breeding season. Male golden pheasants aren't sexually mature until two years of age, but the females are mature from one year. The breeding season tends to be in April. Females will nest in tall grassy areas or in dense bushes in a shallow depression in the ground where their plumage will blend in. They lay between five to twelve eggs in a single clutch, which hatch after three weeks.
Males won't gain their colourful plumage until they are two years of age when they sexually mature. If you don't want to wait that long to discover the sex of the golden pheasant, you can tell by their eyes - females maintain the brown eyes they have at hatching, but over time the males eyes will lighten to an almost white or pale yellow.
It would be hard to mistake this colourful bird for another, but those who aren't familiar with these vibrant birds might mistake them for their cousin the Lady Amherst pheasant.
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