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Bird Type: Pheasants
Scientific Name: Catreus wallichii
IUCN World Conservation Status: VULNERABLE
These birds are fairly dull in colour compared to most other pheasants. Both the male and female are similar in appearance although the female is slightly smaller in size.
They are also known as Wallich’s pheasants, named after the Danish botanist Nathanial Wallich. This species of pheasant is fairly sociable, forming flocks of 10-15 birds. Human interference is largely responsible for the decline in
population of this increasingly rare bird. Through the destruction of habitat, changes in land use across its range and intensive hunting, the cheer pheasant is now regarded as a vulnerable species.
Native to northern areas of India, Pakistan and Nepal.
This bird is native to the southern foothills of the western Himalayas. They live in areas of grass and stunted trees in high altitudes above 4,000 feet. During the summer months they will move to heights of over 10,000 feet.
Cheer pheasants will usually dig for their food. Their powerful beak is perfect for digging up grubs, beetles and snails. They will also eat grass and berries from the ground. These birds will search for food in the mornings and evenings and tend to forage in pairs or small family groups.
The cheer pheasant’s breeding season runs from April to June, during which time they will lay a relatively large clutch of around 11 eggs. They nest at the foot of rocky hillsides, well hidden in thick grass and bushes. The female will incubate the eggs for 26 days whilst the male stands guard. Like most pheasants, these birds will mate for life.