Males measure 210 cm (83 in) long and weighs 1,529 g (3.371 lb), while the females measure 75 cm (30 in) long and weighs 949 g (2.092 lb). The male is a brightly plumaged bird with a scaled golden white and red body plumage, grey legs, brown iris and red skin around eye. The head is white with a black narrow band across its eyes. The male has an extremely long silvery white tail barred with chestnut brown.
This pheasant is mentioned in the Guinness World Records 2008 for having the longest natural tail feather of any bird species; a record formerly held by the crested argus pheasant. It can measure up to 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) long.
The female is a brown bird with blackish crown, buff face and grey brown barred tail feathers. The hen Reeves's pheasant is the same size as a male common pheasant.
There are no known subspecies, but there is some variation in plumage.
Distribution and habitat
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The Reeves's pheasant is endemic to evergreen forests of central and eastern China. Where introduced they also inhabit farmland close to woodlands. Their tail grows a foot for every year they are alive.
They have been introduced for sport and ornamental purposes to Hawaii, USA, Czech Republic, France and the UK. In the latter three countries they have built up small breeding populations, and are still released on a small scale for shooting, often alongside common pheasants.
Due to ongoing habitat loss, and overhunting for food and its tail plumes, the Reeves's pheasant is evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There are thought to be only around 2000 birds remaining in the wild.
Reeves's pheasants are known to be aggressive towards humans, animals and other pheasants, particularly during breeding season.
They like higher ground and are hardy birds, being able to withstand heat and cold.
Their call note is unlike other gamebirds in that it is a musical warble, more passerine sounding than would be expected. Their diet is vegetable matter as well as seeds and cereals. They are fairly common in aviculture.
A clutch of 7-14 eggs are laid in April or May and incubated for 24–25 days.
- BirdLife International (2013). "Syrmaticus reevesii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- del Hoyo, J. Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. Handbook of the Birds of the World New World Vultures to Guineafowl Vol.2 Lynx Edicions Barcelona
- BBC News Archived April 22, 2009 at the Wayback Machine