Elliot’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus ellioti)

Other Names: Bar-backed Pheasant, Chinese Barred-backed Pheasant, White-necked Long-tailed Pheasant

Range: Southeastern China

Subspecies: None.

Habitat: Thick mixed forests to about 6,200 feet.

Male. Crown chestnut-brown, the eyebrows mixed with pale grey; cheeks and ear-coverts greyish brown; sides of neck whitish grey, the hind neck darker grey; chin, throat, and forneck black; mantle and upper breast bright rufous chestnut, each feather having a subterminal black band and a metallic coppery red fringe; a white bar on the scapulars; wing rufous chestnut with a broad steel-blue band on the lesser coverts; greater coverts with a black subterminal bar and broad white tips, forming a band accross the wing; secondaries and tertiaries chestnut with a black subterminal bar and a white or grey tip; primaries dull brown; lower back and rump black barred with white; tail of sixteen rectrices with broad bars of pale grey and rufous chestnut, seperated by irregular black lines; lower breast, abdomen, and vent white, the feathers with hidden dark brown bases; thighs chestnut-brown barred with white; feathers of the flanks chestnut with broad white tips; under tail-coverts black and chestnut. Iris brown to orange; bill horny yellow; legs grey.

Female. Crown rufous brown with blackish tips to the feathers; eyebrows, face, sides, and back of neck greyish fulvous; chin, throat, and foreneck black; mantle mottled, each feather being rufous brown with an arrow-shaped white shaft-marking and a broad subterminal black bar; scapulars fulvous brown with ashy tips; wing-coverts, tertiaries and secondaries vermiculated brown and black, with a large subterminal black patch and light greyish tip; primaries brownish black with interrupted rufous borders; lower back and rump rufous brown finely vermiculated with black; upper tail-coverts chestnut with peppered, pale brown tips, the longest with indistinct bars; central rectrices plain chestnut with black subterminal bars and broad white tips; tail short and bluntly pointed; upper breast mottled fufous brown with black subterminal spots or bars; feathers of lower breast, sides and flanks brown, with a white tip that becomes very broad on the abdomen which appears white; thighs brown; under tail coverts chestnut with broad blackish borders and white tips. Iris brown; bill horny brown; legs grey.

Immature. Like the female, but duller and the throat white; young males soon show barred tail feathers.

Breeding Season: Can be as early as the middle of March in some locations, but usually April through June.

Breeding Age: The males will attain their adult plumage the first year, but are usually not fertile until they are two. I have spoken with a breeder who has had first year hens lay fertile eggs with an older male.

Clutch Size: 6 to 8 rosy-white eggs.

Incubation Period: 25 days.