Game birds are any bird hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game birds are also hunted for sport. Here’s a list of the most attractive and colorful game birds.
1. Palawan Peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis)
One of the handsomest birds on the planet is the Palawan Peacock-pheasant. This bird is found in the island of Palawan, Philippines. It is also known as Napoleon Peacock-pheasant. It is a medium-sized bird that grows up to 50 cm long. The tail feathers are decorated with large blue-green ocelli, which may be spread fanlike in courtship displays. The female is smaller than the male and less colorful. It is a threatened species due to ongoing habitat loss, small population size and limited range as well as hunting and capture for trade.
2. Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
The picture above is a male Mongolian Ringneck, a type Common Pheasant.
The photo above is a Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant, another type of Common Pheasant.
Common Pheasant is native to Asia and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. It is a well-known game bird, among those of more than regional importance perhaps the most widespread and ancient one in the whole world. The Common Pheasant is one of the world’s most hunted birds; it has been introduced for that purpose to many regions, and is also common on game farms where it is commercially farmed for this purpose. “Ring-necked Pheasant” is a collective name for a number of subspecies and their crossbreeds.
3. Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus)
The elegant-looking Green Peafowl is a large bird that is found in the tropical forests of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia in Southeast Asia. The familiar Indian Peafowl diverged from the Green Peafowl approximately 70,000 years ago. The sexes of Green Peafowl are quite similar in appearance, especially in the field. During most of the year, when the males have no visible trains, it is quite difficult to distinguish the sexes. Both sexes have tall pointed crests, and are long-legged, heavy-winged and long-tailed in silhouette.
4 Lady Amherst’s Pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae)
The beautiful Lady Amherst’s Pheasant is a bird native to south western China and Myanmar, but have been introduced elsewhere, and have established a self-supporting, but now declining, feral population in England. This bird is very difficult to see in its natural habitat, which is dense, dark forests with thick undergrowth. Whilst they can fly, they prefer to run, but if startled they can suddenly burst upwards at great speed, with a distinctive wing sound. The name commemorates Sarah Countess Amherst, wife of William Pitt Amherst, Governor General of Bengal, who was responsible for sending the first specimen of the bird to London in 1828.
5. Green Pheasant (Phasianus versicolor)
The lovely-looking Green Pheasant is the national bird of Japan. It is also known as Japanese Pheasant, a bird of the lowlands. Closely related to the Common Pheasant, the cock is distinguished by dark green plumage on breast and mantle. The male has an iridescent violet neck, red bare facial skin and purplish green tail. The female is smaller than male, and has a dull brown plumage with dark spots.
6. Reeve’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesii)
The uniquely colored Reeves’s Pheasant is a large pheasant growing up to 210 cm long. It is endemic to China and the name commemorates the British naturalist John Reeves, who first introduced live specimens to Europe in 1831. This spectacular 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 meters or 8 feet long.
7. Hume’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus humiae)
The good-looking Hume’s Pheasant, also known as Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant or Bar-tailed Pheasant is a large, up to 90cm long, forest pheasant. This rare and little known pheasant is found throughout forested habitats in China, India, Burma and Thailand. The name commemorates Mary Ann Grindall Hume, wife of the British naturalist in India Allan Octavian Hume. It is a threatened species due to ongoing habitat lost, fragmented population and being hunted for food.
8. Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus)
The brightly colored Himalayan Monal is the national bird of Nepal. It is also known as the Impeyan Monal or Impeyan Pheasant or Danphe. It is a bird of genus Lophophorus of the Pheasant family. It is known as the Danfe in Nepal and the state bird of Uttarakhand.
9. Temminck Tragopan (Tragopan temminckii)
The colorful Temminck’s Tragopan is a medium-sized pheasant growing up to 64 cm long. The male is a stocky red-and-orange bird with white-spotted plumage, black bill and pink legs. It has a bare blue facial skin, inflatable dark-blue lappet and horns. The female is a white-spotted brown bird with blue circular eye skin. It is distributed in forests of northern South Asia, from northeast India, northwest Vietnam, Tibet and northern provinces of China.
10. Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata)
The majestic and colorful Ocellated Turkey is a species of turkey residing in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is relatively large bird, at around 70-122 cm (28-48 in) long and an average weight of 3 kg (6.6 lbs) in females and 5 kg (11 lbs) in males. They also can be found in Belize and the northern part of Guatemala. Turkeys spend most of the time on the ground and often prefer to run to escape danger through the day rather than fly, though they can fly swiftly and powerfully for short distances as the majority of birds in this order do in necessity.
11. Elliot’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus ellioti)
The Elliot’s Pheasant which is endemic to China is also known as Bar-backed Pheasant. It is a large pheasant growing up to 80cm long. It lives in evergreen and mountain forests of southeastern China, at altitudes up to 6,200 feet. The diet consists mainly of seeds, leaves and berries. The name commemorates the American ornithologist Daniel Giraud Elliot. It is a threatened species due to ongoing habitat lost, limited range and being hunted for food.
12. Indian Blue Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
The magnificent and attractive Indian Peafowl is the national bird of India. It is also known as the Common Peafowl or the Blue Peafowl. The Indian Peafowl is a resident breeder in the Indian subcontinent and has been introduced into many parts of the world and feral populations exist in many introduced regions. Peafowl are most notable for the male’s extravagant display feathers which, despite actually growing from their back, are known as a “tail” or train. This train is in reality not the tail but the enormously elongated upper tail coverts.
13. Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus)
The very colorful and handsome Golden Pheasant is undoubtedly the most colorful of all the game birds. It is also commonly known as Chinese Pheasant and is native to forests in mountainous areas of western China but feral populations have been established in the UK and elsewhere.
The adult male is 90-105 cm in length, its tail accounting for two-thirds of the total length. It is unmistakable with its golden crest and rump and bright red body. The deep orange ‘cape’ can be spread in display, appearing as an alternating black and orange fan that covers all of the face except its bright yellow eye, with a pinpoint black pupil.
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