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Male Golden Pheasant DC.jpg
Male golden pheasant
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Phasianinae
Genus: Chrysolophus
J.E. Gray, 1834

Chrysolophus is a genus of the pheasant family of birds. The genus name is from Ancient Greek khrusolophos, "with golden crest".[1]

These are species which have spectacularly plumaged males. The golden pheasant is native to western China, and Lady Amherst's pheasant to Tibet and westernmost China, but both have been widely introduced elsewhere. In places where self-supporting feral populations have become established, such as England, the two species will interbreed to produce hybrids.

Despite the male's showy appearance, these birds are very difficult to see in their natural habitat, which is dense, dark, young conifer forests with sparse undergrowth. Consequently, little is known of their behaviour in the wild.

They feed on the ground on grain, leaves and invertebrates, but roost in trees at night. Whilst they can fly, they prefer to run: but if startled they can suddenly burst upwards at great speed, with a distinctive wing sound.

Extant species

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Golden Pheasant, Tangjiahe Nature Reserve.jpg Chrysolophus pictus golden pheasant Western China, introduced to Canada, the United States, Britain and elsewhere
Lady Amherst Pheasant SMTC.jpg Chrysolophus amherstiae Lady Amherst's pheasant Tibet and western China


  1. Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.

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