Aves Galliformes Phasianidae
The Golden Pheasant, also loosely called the Chinese Pheasant, is a small sized ornamental pheasant native to western China, but has enjoyed a widespread distribution because of their obvious ostentatious attire. In fact, nearly all recognizable pheasants are native to the orient. The more visually common ringneck pheasant popular in the United States is actually a late comer to this area. It has been reported that George Washington had a number of these Golden Pheasants in Mt. Vernon and was in fact the first American to have them in this country, although they were most likely a diplomatic gift.
As the Ring neck is a popular feral species here, the Golden now has a range of habitat throughout Great Britain amongst other places. While many claims suppose that this bird was first domesticated in the 1740’s, the richness of their presence in Chinese, European, and Arabic literature and art seems to suggest that this may be incorrect. It has often been the case that the golden pheasant represents the unobtainable mysteries of fire and omen. This may be the very bird at the root of the Phoenix myth.
It is interesting that even though this is potentially one of the most popular birds for aviaries worldwide, precious little is actually known about its life in the wild.