Scientific Name: Lophura swinhoii
One of our Ornamental Pheasant species that we keep, the Swinhoe’s, is one of James’ favourites. Much larger than the ruffed pheasants, the Lophura genus comprises a variety of species dubbed Gallopheasants. This includes the Bulwer’s, Edward’s, Malay Crestless Fireback, Bornean Crestless Fireback, Aceh, Bornean Crested Fireback, Malay Crested Fireback, Salvadori’s, Kalij, Siamese Fireback, and Silver Pheasants. We also keep the Kalij Nepal Pheasants at Dysons Wood Aviaries.
Within Australia, the most readily available of the Gallopheasants are the Silver and the Swinhoe’s. The Kalij Nepal is steadily on the increase with more unrelated pairs being produced each year as a result of focussed efforts from influential Pheasant Breeders.
A species of Gallopheasant which is in critical condition is the Siamese Fireback. To date there has been little success breeding pure offspring across the minuscule number of birds in Australia. Either alterations to the importation of viable bloodlines needs to be made or it is highly likely that this species will become extinct in Australia.
Endemic to Taiwan the Swinhoe’s Pheasant is a peaceful and secluded bird. Like most pheasants they require brush cover in their enclosures, as well as plenty of area for foraging and natural perches for roosting. Pheasants have long, delicate tails and without consideration for space will never present at their best.
Their natural habitat is high altitudes in Taiwanese mountains, so higher temperatures (particularly in Northern and Eastern Australia) can be problematic. We use a misting system to ensure that temperatures are kept lower in summer.
We feed a high quality micropellet, fresh produce, and live insect larvae to our pheasants They are a quiet species, with the Cock birds being more vocal if startled. The noise is quite unique, but not loud. As these are a heavier species, and when frightened they will propel themselves into the air, care should be taken to not cause injury to yourself or the pheasants. Cock birds hold two inch long spurs, and although they are not intentionally used, in a fright they can quite easily cause damage.
When courting the Cock bird’s wattle enlarges, and will perform the wing-whirring that the Gallopheasant species are known for.
For the avid bird lover, Pheasants should be a must have in a collection. Quails have been popular ground birds for some time, but Pheasants should become more established as the efforts of Societies like the PWSA continue to market themselves to the public. The Swinhoe’s should definitely be on the top of the list, as they are quiet and a real talking point for Aviculturalists.