Golden Pheasant: Here’s What You Absolutely Must Know

The Golden Pheasant – (also named the Chinese Pheasant/Rainbow Pheasant) is a wonderful little bird!

So where do golden pheasants live?

And do golden pheasants fly?

After reading this bird profile, you’ll discover everything you need to know plus much more…

Overview of the Golden Pheasants Birds

What are the Golden Pheasant Birds? 

Golden Pheasant Birds are characteristically terrestrial birds widely known for their unmistakable brilliant colors and incredible ability to burst into flight at great speed.

They are commonly referred to as American gold eagle, Chinese Pheasants, or golden eagle, chiefly due to the golden-yellow color of the male’s rump and back.

The Golden Pheasant Birds belong to the order of Galliformes, and family of Phasianidae.

Golden Pheasant Birds are very colorful and hardy, and these features make them arguably the most sought after pheasant species.

They make their homes in dense forests locked away in mountainous terrains, especially in Western and Central China.

Features of Golden Pheasant Bird

Some of the most striking features of the golden Pheasant are its yellow legs and bill.

Amazingly, both sexes of the bird possess these features, making them one of the most easily-recognizable birds.

The male variety has a length of around 40 inches, with the tail taking up two-third of that.

The female variety is about 30 inches in length, with the tail making up half of that.

The male golden pheasant bird has a rusty tan face, chin, throat, and neck sides.

Its crest is golden-yellow, possessing a bit of red at the tip. The orbital skin and wattles have glowing yellow color, while the cape or ruff is orange.

The bird’s upper back has the green color, with the rump and lower back golden-yellow.

The female golden pheasant bird, on the other hand, is less colorful than its male counterpart.

It has a characteristic brown color, with a buff face. The bird’s abdomen is buff, with its sides and breast barred buff.

There are two genus species of the Golden Pheasant Species:

  • Chrysolophus, possessing a gold crest, and
  • Pictus, typically painted.

Quick facts about Golden Pheasant Birds

  • Golden Pheasant Birds are extremely popular for their incredible flying skills when startled. They are, however, terrestrial animals – preferring to spend their time during the day on the ground.
  • Golden Pheasants can have their bodies bleached from prolonged sun exposure.
  • The female Golden Pheasants may not be as attractive as the males, but their characteristic brown color allows them to blend effortlessly with their environment.

    This easy blending will enable them to incubate their eggs and raise their chicks easily, with fewer disturbances and disruptions.
  • Pheasants have been kept by rich people – especially royalty – as ornaments for their lawns.

    It was common to find Golden Pheasants displaying their brilliant colors on the lawns and gardens of those that kept them.

Origin and Evolution

The Golden Pheasant Bird is originally from Central and Western China, and this informs the name, Chinese Pheasant. It was introduced to the UK about a century ago, with over a hundred mating pairs appearing in the summer.

Outside of the birds’ natural home in China, they are found in different zoos, farms, and gardens.

In their wild state, they live in various locations all over the world, and this is due to their extensive domestication.

It is now common to find the Golden Pheasant Birds in several parts of Europe, the United States, Australia, Canada, and some parts of South America.


It is rare to find birds as timid as Golden Pheasants.

During the day, they conveniently stay in the dark, dense coniferous forests and woodlands, and roost in tall trees at night.

Despite their flight ability, they prefer to feed on the ground, and this is possible because of their clumsiness in flight.

The Golden Pheasant Birds are quick to fly upwards at an incredible speed when startled.

There’s quite a little information about their behavioral pattern when in the wild because of the difficulty in spotting them. The bird makes the ‘chack chack’ vocalization. 

The destruction of the bird’s natural habitat poses a threat to the stability of its population. The capture of the birds for domestication is another threat.

Human Interaction and Domestication Behavior

Golden Pheasants are extremely likable by humans due to their attractive colors.

As a result of this, humans have kept them as pets for several centuries.

However, the birds’ population has not been significantly disrupted due to the protection they are given.

Although humans have bred Golden Pheasants for like ever, we’ve not been able to domesticate them completely.

Do They Make Good Pets?

Yes, they do. However, to legally have one as a pet, you’ll have to live in an area zoned for agricultural purposes. Golden Pheasants are typically large birds needing a lot of space to live and forage.

Apart from the need of having a large space to keep them as pets, it costs a lot to buy these birds.

Golden Pheasants’ Reproduction Behavior

Usually, around April, the male Golden Pheasant spreads its colorful feathers to attract the female, and they mate. The dull-appearing female Golden Pheasant lays between 8 – 11 eggs, and incubate them for about 23 days.

The young birds grow wing-feathers for a flight around 12 to 14 days after hatching. The male Golden Pheasant attains sexual maturity in its first year but gets its distinctively bright colors in the second.

Lifestyle and Health

The Lifespan and Common Diseases of Golden Pheasant Bird

A Golden Pheasant lives for around 15 to 25 years. Although they are hardy birds, they are susceptible to common poultry diseases.

Some of these diseases include fowl cholera, Botulism, crooked toes (especially for young birds), Coccidiosis, navel ill, owl typhoid, avian tuberculosis, erysipelas, Newcastle disease, worms, and eye infections.

Parasite control, regular worm treatment, and nutrient supplement can help in the control of these diseases, and in building the bird’s resistance.

Feeding Diet of Golden Pheasants

The Golden Pheasant’s diet includes berries, grain, seeds, grubs, and some invertebrates such as includes larvae, millipedes, insects, earthworms, spiders and snails.

Caring for Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasants live in large, walk-in aviaries on farms and in zoos. They typically need lots of space to find food, and sparse vegetation to stay.  They are fed seeds, fruits, and invertebrates.


It has been difficult to estimate the population size of Golden Pheasant chiefly because of the bird’s extensive range.

However, it’s a quite common species in suitable habitats. 

IUCN has listed the Golden Pheasant as Least Concern, and that means the species still has a good population.

There is no CITES and USFWS data available.

They are among the most common pheasant species heavily secured due to their beautiful and hardy nature. 

There’s a decline in the species population as a result of the continuous degradation of their natural habitat and bird hunting.

Other Physical Characteristics 

Colors and Markings

The male Golden Pheasant is unmistakably colorful, with a striking golden-yellow crest. Red runs from the top of the bird’s head down to its neck. Its wings are brightly colored, with a brown tail.

Its rumps also have the characteristic golden color, with the upper back green. The bird’s eyes are yellow, with a black pupil. The face, chin, and throat are rusty, with yellow orbital skin and wattles.

The female Golden Pheasant has a characteristic brown color, with a buff face. The bird’s abdomen is buff, with its sides and breast barred buff. Both sexes have yellow legs and bill.


The male Golden Pheasants are between 90 to 105 cm in length, with an average of 110 cm or 44 inches.

The female Golden Pheasants are between 60 – 80 cm in length, with an average of 65 cm or 26 inches.


The most suitable habitats for the Golden Pheasants are dark, fresh coniferous forests with some undergrowth. 

The birds survive in these habitats by feeding on leaves, grain, and invertebrate they pick from the ground.

Their selection of invertebrates includes larvae, millipedes, insects, earthworms, spiders and snails.

They spend their nights roosting in trees.

Golden Pheasants can fly; they usually choose to run instead.

However, they burst into flight at a fantastic speed when suddenly threatened.

Housing Requirements for Golden Pheasants

For one to successfully keep pheasants, there’s the need to pay keen attention to their housing.

For aviaries, there has to be lots of bushes and brush vegetation because Golden Pheasants love to hide in such vegetation due to their secretive nature.

The particular housing requirements for Golden Pheasants ultimately depends on the size of housing operation, the type, and size of land, and the kind of market the birds are reared for.

The aviary size requirement for Golden Pheasant Bird is 100 Sq Ft or 9.3 Sq M.

Range Requirements:

  • Each Golden Pheasant needs around 6.5 ft of space.
  • The range breeding site has to be dry, sheltered and well-drained. Green pasture is not a necessity, as that doesn’t make up the core diet of the birds.
  • There should be a solid cover to keep the female pheasant birds from the overzealous male pheasant birds.
  • Shelters (measuring 5 ft by 3.3 ft) should have some amount of feed in front of them, and there shouldn’t be more than 40 pheasants in one shelter.
  • Shelters or pens should be covered with wire nettings to prevent hawks from attacking the pheasants.

Intensive Housing Requirements:

  • Buildings roofed with skillion roofs are recommended.
  • Shelters of the same design with those of range breeding should be provided, alongside branches of a bushy tree.
  • Shutters or blinds should be used in adverse weather conditions for bird health and safety.
  • Artificial light sources could be installed to aid egg production.


Golden Pheasants may be hardy animals, but they need proper care and management to raise them successfully.

For little pheasant chicks, you have to ensure that there’s a constant supply of food and water, and there has to be a heat lamp in the pen.

Always ensure you inspect the pheasant chicks as often as possible, especially during the nights.

Young birds usually die from cold at night.

When the chicks are about three weeks, you can allow them to forage outside, and drive them back into the pens in the evening.

The pen should be adequately covered, with enough space for the pheasants. At six weeks, the pheasants’ diet should be 20% protein feed.

Since Golden Pheasants are susceptible to bleaching, try to keep them out of the sun to maintain the bright colors of the male species.


Question 1 – Where Do Golden Pheasants Live?

Golden Pheasants live in the dark, highly-dense forests in mountainous regions, with spare underneath vegetation.

They feed on the ground and roost in tall trees.

Although Golden Pheasants are terrestrial birds, they spend most of their time on the ground, only roosting on the trees at night.

Question 2 – Do Golden Pheasants Fly?

The Golden Pheasant Birds can fly, but they prefer to run. When suddenly startled, they burst upwards at a very high speed. Their preference for running instead of flying is due to their clumsiness in flight.

Question 3 – How Long Do Golden Pheasants Live?

The average years a Golden Pheasant lives is between 15 to 25 years.

Question 4 – What Do Golden Pheasants Eat?

Golden Pheasant Birds feed on leaves, grain, and invertebrate they pick from the ground. Their selection of invertebrates includes larvae, millipedes, insects, earthworms, spiders and snails.

Question 5 – How Long Do Golden Pheasant Eggs Take to Hatch?

The female birds incubate their birds for about 23 weeks.

Question 6 – Are Golden Pheasants Noisy?

Golden Pheasants make their characteristic ‘chack chack’ sound, and other vocalizations, making them quite noisy.

Question 7 – How Much Does a Golden Pheasant Cost?

The price for a juvenile Golden Pheasant could go as high as $225.

However, you can get one for as low as $136.50. If you want to raise Golden Pheasants as a beginner, you can get a bird for around 15 – 25$.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.