Gogo the Golden Pheasant is anything but endangered—and some might say his species has been too fortunate…
That’s because Chrysolophus pictus is not only plentiful in its native habitat of Western China —but feral populations have established themselves everywhere from the United States, Mexico and Canada to the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and even the Falkland Islands!
Golden Pheasants, like their even more plentiful cousins, fly only in short bursts. Birders may be familiar to the spectacle of a startled Golden Pheasant breaking cover—erupting skyward with a distinctive whirr of wings.
Curiously, however, little is known about Golden Pheasants in the wild. That’s because they love the darkness of dense, young evergreen forest floors, roosting in the branches when night falls. Consequently they’re hard to spot, harder to follow, and what we know of them comes mostly from birds in captivity.
We do know they love to eat berries, grubs, seeds and other edibles found on forest floors—and they readily eat grain when they can get it. Gogo and I made friends at the McNeil Avian Center, where so many beautiful birds may be found in the environments they love.
In its native China, the Golden Pheasant is said to be a harbinger of Good Luck and Good Fortune, which couldn’t have hurt its popularity and plentitude!