The world of birds can get pretty confusing, especially with species you don’t normally come across. In this article, we’re going to break down what peacocks and pheasants are, as well as discuss the possibility of a cross-over.
Peacock-pheasants: While you might think that a peacock-pheasant is a hybrid animal bred between a peacock and a pheasant, you would be mistaken. The name was coined by an explorer who simply deemed that the new bird he found in Asia looked similar to a peacock and a pheasant. And thus the name has stuck. The family name of these birds is the peacock-pheasant and there are eight species within this family. You can find the different species all over Asia, ranging from Malaysia to India to China. Generally, the females of these birds are smaller and most have more subdued coloring than the males. Male peacock-pheasants have different appearances depending on their species, but most will have iridescent blue and green spots on their feathers. While the grey peacock pheasant has plumage similar to a turkey, the Palawan peacock pheasant has dark blue spots on its back and is much smaller in size. While some of the birds are on the threatened status of extinction, more is being done to protect this family of birds and for the most part, the birds seem to be thriving in many areas.
What is a Peacock?
A peacock is a male bird in the species of the peafowl and the female equivalent is the peahen. While we tend to refer to the entire species like peacocks, the correct name is in fact, peafowl.
There are three species of peafowl, including Indian peafowl, Green peafowl, and Congo peafowl. The most well-known and populous is the Indian peafowl.
The Indian peafowl is a protected species and is actually the national bird of Indian. Male Indian peacocks are famous for their large tail plumage, with the bright blue and green feathers reaching up to five feet in length.
In contrast, female Indian peahens are brown and white in color and their tails are only a few inches long. Their necks have a light iridescent feather pattern, but they are definitely more subdued than their male counterparts.
What are Pheasants?
Native to areas throughout Asia and Europe, pheasants are birds that are closely linked with grouse and turkey. They now live all over the world, especially in captivity.
Pheasants are a type of bird, that, like peafowl, have sexual dimorphism. This means that male and female pheasants look very different.
Male pheasants have bright colors; their bodies are a mix of orange and red and their necks have a white ring before turning into iridescent blue feathers.
As for female pheasants, they are a mottled brown color and blend in very well with their surroundings. While male pheasants have tails that are up to two feet in length, female pheasants are much shorter, measuring just a few inches.
Interestingly, in the United States and other countries, it is illegal to hunt female pheasants. However, because of their bold coloring, it is much easier to spot male pheasants.
What is a peacock-pheasant?
It is always interesting when two species are able to breed together, and this can be seen in the peacock pheasant. However, it is hard to know just how this species came about.
Despite their name, peacock-pheasants, aren’t actually related to pheasants and only distantly to peafowl. However, their coloring and mannerisms are closely linked to both birds.
There are many different species of birds within this family, and they all differ in size and coloring. It can be hard to identify what bird you actually see. However, the male birds within the peacock-pheasant family tend to all have iridescent colorings on them.
Where does the peacock-pheasant live?
You can find peacock-pheasants in many different parts of Asia. There are eight different species and their habitats range all over, although they prefer warmer climates.
While the most common species, the grey peacock pheasant is native to Southeast Asia and Northern India, you can find the Hainan peacock pheasant in parts of China.
As population growth continues to take over the natural habitats of animals, many species, including peacock-pheasants are forced to move around in order to find enough food sources to survive.
What is a Grey Peacock-Pheasant?
While there are eight different species of peacock-pheasants, the most common one is the grey peacock-pheasant. They were first identified in 1747 by naturalist George Edwards who described the unique bird as a “peacock pheasant from China.” The term stuck and now the species is still referred to as this.
Unlike other peafowl and pheasants, both the male and female birds look similar, although the females are smaller. For appearance, grey peacock-pheasants have a busy crest, a white throat, and a pink face.
They have tails that are about two feet long and when puffed out have bold green eyespots on the feathers along with blue eyespots on their body feathers. As you can imagine, their feathers are shades of grey.
What is a Palawan Peacock-Pheasant?
Native to the Philippines, this unique-looking bird is quite a sight to behold. It’s no wonder the Indigenous people of Palawan, an area in the Philippines, revere this bird.
The Palawan Peacock-Pheasant is considered a threatened bird although now that there is more awareness about the bird, this is becoming less of a concern.
Interesting to look at, the Palawan peacock-pheasant has dark grey feathers with large blue eyespots along with the back and tail feathers. It has a white face with a long black crest on the top of its head.
While male birds of this species are up to 2 feet in length, female birds are a bit smaller. They also do not have the iridescent coloring of the male bird and instead have brown feathers of varying hues.
There are many interesting birds and one of these is the peacock-pheasant. While it is not a hybrid of peacocks and pheasants, it does share many physical characteristics of both birds.