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Bird Type: Pheasants
Scientific name: Chrysolophus amherstiae
IUCN World Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN
This species of pheasant, originating from China, has been introduced into the wild in parts of southern England.
Males are easily recognisable with their cape of black and white feathers and red, white, blue and yellow body. In contrast the female is brown in colour, keeping her well camouflaged when sitting on her nest. These pheasants are ground dwelling birds and prefer to run rather than fly.
The bird is named after Sarah Countess Amherst, wife of the Governor General of Bengal William Pitt Amherst, who sent the first specimen of this bird back to London in 1828.
Native to south-west China and parts of Burma.
These pheasants live in dark, dense forests with very thick undergrowth making them very difficult to spot in the wild. They roost in trees but spend their days on the ground foraging for food on the forest floor. They are high altitude birds, living at elevations of 6,000-15,000 feet.
Lady Amherst’s pheasants enjoy a diet of berries, shoot, leaves and grain as well as small invertebrates.
Females can lay up to 12 eggs per clutch, following a 22 day incubation period. Their breeding season will vary dependent on the climate but usually starts in May.