Copper Pheasant (Syrmaticus soemmeringii)

Other Names: Soemmering’s Pheasant

Range: Japan see below for subspecies distribution

Subspecies: Scintillating Copper (S. s. scintillans) northern and central Honshu; Shikoku Copper (S. s. intermedius) southwestern Honshu and Shikoku; Pacific Copper (S. s. subrufus) southeastern Honshu and southwestern Shikoku; Soemmering’s Copper (S. s. soemmeringii) northern and central Kyushu; Ijima Copper (S. s. ijimae) southeastern Kyushu.

Habitat: Coniferous and mixed forests.

Male: Head deep reddish chestnut; neck feathers light chestnut with large black patches near the base and a fringe of coppery purplish chestnut; mantle alike, but with pale buffy borders on the sides of the feathers turning to white on the back and rump where they become broad; the tone of the buff or white borders varies much individually; rectrices cinnamon with narrow black bars broadly bordered with dark chestnut above and with buffy, spotted with black below; there is a great deal of variation in the rectrices, the central ones having from seven to thirteen bars; breast feathers pale chestnut with black patches and pale greyish buff borders producing a laced appearance, those of the flanks and abdomen paler with a pale buff border; thighs and vent buff and chestnut marked with black and bordered with white; wing coverts and tertiaries alike, but lighter; primaries and secondaries barred with white; wing coverts and tertiaries alike, but lighter; primaries and secondaries barred and vermiculated buffy and blackish brown.

S. s. scintillansFemale: In general resemble those of ellioti and humiae, but the pale streaks on the mantle and breast are very narrow, buff and inconspicuous; crown dark brown; throat light tawny buff; cheeks, sides of neck, mantle and breasy heavily marked with blackish brown which forms an uneven dark collar below the throat; back and rump strongly tinged with grey; underparts like those of ellioti but more buffy; central rectrices barred grey and palce chestnut, vermiculated all over with brown

S. s. intermediusMale: Similar to scintillans, but slightly darker and richer red all over, particularly on the tail which is longer, and on the abdomen which is of the same color as the breast; borders of feathers golden on most of the mantle and scapulars. Female – Like scintillans.

S. s. subrufusMale: Differs from the proceeding subspecies in having glittering golden orange borders to the feathers of the mantle and back; those of the rump have some white but often much reduced in size; gerneral color darker red. Tail broader and lighter in color than in intermedius, but not so light as in scintillans. Very variable and unstable. Female – Like scintillans.

S. s. soemmeringiiMale: Differs from subrufus in being stil darker and redder; central rectrice very dark, broarder and not so abruptly pointed; nine to fourteen bars in the tail; all the feathers of the upper parts have golden carmine fringes, and those of the under parts are dark chestnut and black. Female – Darker and more distinctly marked than scintillans.

S. s. ijimaeMale: Similar to soemmeringii, but feathers of the back and rump with broad silky white fringes which may occupy the whole of their visible part on the rump; upper tail coverts with a thin white border; there is a great deal of variation in the width of the white fringes and in the appearance of the lower back and rump which may look pure white or red more or less spotted with white according to specimens. Female: Similar to soemmeringii

Breeding Season: Late April to early June.

Breeding Age: First year; adult plumage is also attained the first year.

Clutch Size: 6 to 12 eggs.

Incubation Period: 24 to 25 days.