Copper pheasant

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Copper pheasant
Stavenn Syrmaticus soemmerringii ijimae.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Phasianinae
Genus: Syrmaticus
Species: S. soemmerringii
Binomial name
Syrmaticus soemmerringii
(Temminck, 1830)
Specimen - AMNH

The copper pheasant (Syrmaticus soemmerringii), also known as Soemmerring's pheasant, is endemic to Japan. The scientific name commemorates the German scientist Samuel Thomas von Sömmerring.

Description[edit]

It is a large pheasant with a rich coppery chestnut plumage, yellowish bill, brown iris and red facial skin. The female is a brown bird with greyish brown upperparts and buff barred dark brown below. The male has short spur on its grey legs, none in female. He measures up to 87.5–136 cm (34.5–54 in) long including the tail while the female measures up to 51–54 cm (20–21 in) (subspecies scintillating copper pheasant, scintillans) including the tail.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The copper pheasant is distributed and endemic to the hill and mountain forests of Honshū, Kyūshū and Shikoku islands of Japan, where it is known as yamadori (山鳥?). The diet consists mainly of insects, arthropods, roots, leaves and grains. Due to ongoing habitat loss, limited range and overhunting in some areas, the copper pheasant is evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Cultural mentions[edit]

The copper pheasant appears in Japanese poetry as far back as poetry composed by Kakinomoto no Hitomaro in the early 8th century, as compiled in the Hyakunin Isshu:[3]

Ashibiki no yamadori no wo no shidari-wo no naga-nagashi yo wo hitori ka mo nemu

Must I sleep alone through the long autumn nights, long like the dragging tail of the mountain pheasant separated from his dove?

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Syrmaticus soemmerringii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Handbook of the Birds of the World Volume 2 Lynx Edicions Barcelona
  3. ^ Mostow, Joshua S. (1996). Pictures of the Heart: The Hyakunin Isshu in Word and Image. University of Hawaii Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-8248-1705-2. 

External links[edit]