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Green Pheasant - BirdForum Opus

Adult male
Photo © by petitebouquet
Gifu pref, Japan, 10 April 2007
Phasianus versicolor


Adult female
Photo © by petitebouquet
gifu pref, Japan, 10 April 2007

Male 81½ cm (32 in), female 58 cm (23 in)
Male similar to Common Pheasant but darker and more compact with shorter tail commonly held cocked. Head with prominent ear tufts and rounded red wattles; bluish neck lacks white ring of Common Pheasant. Body deep green sometimes with bluish cast. Wing coverts, rump and lower back pale blue-gray. Scapulars and tail russet with dark scaling and barring. Female is overall brown with paler brown fringing, darker and more extensive below than female Common Pheasant. Pale crescent below eye.

Similar Species

Common Pheasant male has white neck ring. Female smaller and more heavily marked than Common. Female may also be confused with female Copper Pheasant but is larger with longer tail lacking Copper's white tip.


Endemic to Japan. Introduced widely. Formerly established in Hawaii.


Regarded as conspecific with Common Pheasant by some authorities.[2]


Adult male in flight
Photo © by stoop
Toyano, Niigata, Japan, 27 March 2008

This is a polytypic species. There are 3 subspecies [1]

  • P. v. versicolor:
  • South-western Honshu and Kyushu
  • P. v. tanensis:
  • Central Honshu and Izu Islands
  • P. v. robustipes:
  • North-western Honshu and Sado Island

Most authorities recognize a fourth subspecies P. v. tohkaidi from west central Honshu and Shikoku.


They are found in a variety of habitats, wetlands, riversides, cultivated fields and urban areas.



Species is both monogamous and polygamous. They nest on the ground; about 10 eggs are laid over a period of 14-21 days and incubated for 23-26 days


Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, berries and nuts.


Mostly resident. Some seasonal movement in high snowfall areas.


Male's territorial call two harsh explosive crows, corrr .. corrr higher pitched and coarser than Common Pheasant and often followed by noisy wingbeats.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
    1. Sibley, CG and BL Monroe. 1996. Birds of the World, on diskette, Windows version 2.0. Charles G. Sibley, Santa Rosa, CA, USA.
  2. McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Green Pheasant (Phasianus versicolor). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53509 on 27 March 2019).
  3. BirdForum Member observations
  4. Brazil, M.A. (1991) The Birds of Japan. Smithsonian Inst. Press.
  5. Giudice, J. H. and J. T. Ratti (2001). Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.572
  6. Pyle, R.L., and P. Pyle. 2017. The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: Occurrence, History, Distribution, and Status. B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Version 2 (1 January 2017) http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/birds/rlp-monograph/

Recommended Citation

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