Our Animals - Reeve's Pheasant

Our Animals > Reeve's Pheasant

Reeves Pheasant in field

The Reeves's Pheasant, Syrmaticus reevesii, is a large (up to 210 cm long) pheasant within the genus Syrmaticus. It is endemic to China.

The name commemorates the British naturalist John Reeves, who first introduced live specimens to Europe in 1831.

The male is a brightly plumaged bird with a scaled golden white and red body plumage, grey legs, brown iris and red skin around eye. The head is white with a black narrow band across its eyes. The male has an extremely long silvery white tail barred with chestnut brown.

This spectacular pheasant is mentioned in the Guinness World Records 2008 for having the longest natural tail feather of any bird species; a record formerly held by the Crested Argus Pheasant. It can measure up to 2.4 metres or 8 feet (2.4 m) long.

The female is a brown bird with blackish crown, buff face and grey brown barred tail feathers. The hen Reeves's Pheasant is the same size as a male Common Pheasant.

There are no known subspecies but there is some variation in plumage.


Distribution and habitat

The Reeves's Pheasant is endemic to evergreen forests of central and eastern China. Where introduced they also inhabit farmland close to woodlands.

They have been introduced for sport and ornamental purposes to Hawaii, USA, Czech Republic, France and the UK. In the latter three countries they have built up small breeding populations, and are still released on a small scale for shooting, often alongside Common Pheasants.

Due to ongoing habitat loss, and over hunting for food and its tail plumes, the Reeves's Pheasant is evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There are thought to be only around 2000 birds remaining in the wild.


Reeves Pheasant headBehavior

Reeves's Pheasants are known to be aggressive towards humans, animals and other pheasants.

They like higher ground and are hardy birds, being able to withstand heat and cold.

Their call note is unlike other gamebirds in that it is a musical warble, more passerine sounding than would be expected. Their diet is vegetable matter as well as seeds and cereals. They are fairly common in aviculture.

A clutch of 7-14 eggs are laid in April or May and incubated for 24–25 days.



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