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Silver Pheasant Female

Lophura nycthemera
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
Mainland Southeast Asia, and eastern and southern China, with introduced populations in Hawaii and various locations in the US mainland
Mountainous forests

Males have white upperparts and tail (most feathers with some black barring in a rather zebra-like pattern), while their underparts and crest are a shiny bluish-black. Males have a patch of red skin on their face, called a wattle. They also have a spur on each leg. The females are all brown with hints of the same barring on their tails, which are much shorter than the males’.

This is a terrestrial bird which rarely flies. Females are camouflaged to help hide their presence from predators while males are brightly colored.  Bright red colors can show their health to females.  Carotenoids are used to stimulate and regulate the immune system in birds and mammals, so if there’s enough excess carotenoids to display bright red colors it means they either have great nutrition or no diseases.

Courtship starts when males open their wings and vibrate them while making a “crak-crak-crak” sound. The female responds with a similar display, minus the call. The male also inflates his facial wattles. The male is polygamous and territorial. Females scrape a shallow nest in the ground. Their clutch contains 6-12 light brown eggs. Females incubate eggs and males defend the territory. Incubation lasts 25 days. Young are precocial, able to forage for themselves but still needing protection and guidance from the parents for a short time.

They scratch the ground to find food.  They eat seeds and fruit, with the occasional insect.