The blue-eared pheasant (Crossoptilon auritum) is a species of bird that belongs to the Phasianidae family. This bird is endemic to Central China and is found in Qinghai, Sichuan, and Tibet. Its preferred wintering habitat includes coniferous forests dominated by pine, fir, spruce, cedar, and other coniferous trees. Its diet includes various plant parts such as buds, seeds, roots, leaves, and grasses. This bird exhibits sexual dimorphism as the male and the female bird differ slightly in their appearance. It has a bluish-gray plumage along with a black crown on its head. It also has distinct red facial skin and red legs. The chicks are born with a dark grayish-brown plumage.
Their breeding season ranges from April to June. They form monogamous pairs having one partner throughout their lives. Males become aggressive during the breeding season to defend their territory. The females lay around six to 12 eggs and incubate them for 26 days. They attain reproductive maturity at two years of age. The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List has listed blue-eared pheasants as a species of Least Concern. The destruction of habitat and climate change are some of the major threats encountered by this species.
The blue-eared pheasant (Crossoptilon auritum) is a species of bird belonging to the Phasianidae family. It is one of the four species that belong to the genus Crossoptilon.
This bird belongs to the class Aves.
The exact number of individuals present in the world is not known. However, these birds appear to have stable population growth.
Blue-eared pheasants are mostly found in Central China. Their range extends from the east of Qinghai in China, through to Gansu, and extends to Inner Mongolia. In Inner Mongolia, these birds mostly inhabit the Helan Mountains, an isolated mountain range that forms the border of Inner Mongolia. Their range also extends to the Sichuan and northeastern part of Tibet. In Tibet, they reside in the Tanggula mountain range located at the center of the Tibetan plateau.
Blue-eared pheasants are found in shrubland and mixed forests. A mixed forest habitat is characterized by temperate climatic conditions and broad-leaved trees. Shrubland vegetation comprises shrubs, herbs, and grasses forming a single layer of canopy. The preferred wintering habitat of these birds includes coniferous forests. This habitat is characterized by warm summers and cold winters and the predominant vegetation includes pine, fir, spruce, and cedar. These birds are found up to an elevation of 8858-14436 ft (2700-4400 m) during the summer season. In winter, they usually descend to a lower elevation.
Blue-eared pheasants are mostly found in small or large groups. Their groups are known as bouquet or bevy consisting of around 50-60 individuals. They are found in pairs during the breeding season.
This bird lives up to 12-15 years.
The breeding season of these birds ranges from April to June. They form monogamous pairs during this time. Males become territorial and aggressive during the breeding season. They usually build their nests at a lower elevation from the ground using feathers and sticks. These birds occasionally raise two broods per year. After mating, the female bird lays around six to 12 eggs. The eggs are usually grayish-brown in color. A female bird incubates the eggs for around 26 days on average. The chicks receive parental care after hatching. They attain reproductive maturity at two years of age.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List has listed blue-eared pheasants (Crossoptilon auritum) as species of Least Concern. The destruction of habitat and climate change are some of the major threats encountered by this species.
Blue-eared pheasants exhibit sexual dimorphism as both sexes differ slightly in their physical appearance. Males are larger with thicker legs and rounder wattles as compared to the females. Another distinguishing factor is the shape of the spurs, an outgrowth of bone from the foot. Males have rounded spurs, while females have oblong spurs. However, male and female blue-eared pheasants have a similar coloration. They have a bluish-gray plumage and red facial skin. Their chin and ear coverts are white along with a contrasting black crown on their heads. Their tail feathers are loosely curled along with dark blue-gray tips. Their legs and feet are red in color. Young birds have a dark grayish-brown plumage along with a short tail.
Like ducks, their cuteness usually stems from their appearance. The presence of a blue-gray plumage, red facial skin, long white ear coverts, and black crown make them cute.
Blue-eared pheasants communicate through a range of vocalizations. The males have a distinct territorial call which contains a series of harsh notes. Their calls are similar to that of crows and can be heard over long distances. They are usually heard during the dawn for a short period of time.
Blue-eared pheasants are around 37.7 in (96 cm) in length. They are a lot bigger than blue jays which are 8.6-11.8 in (22-30 cm) in length.
This bird can fly at a speed of 60 mph (96.5 kph).
Males weigh around 3.7-4.6 lb (1.7-2 kg) and females weigh around 3-3.9 lb (1.4-1.8 kg).
Male blue-eared pheasants are called roosters and female blue-eared pheasants are known as hens.
Baby blue-eared pheasants are called chicks.
Blue-eared pheasants are omnivorous birds and their diet mostly include buds, seeds, roots, leaves, and grasses. They also feed on citrus fruits. Their diet occasionally contains beetles. In captivity, these birds are fed mixed grains, pellets, and fruits.
No, blue-eared pheasants are not considered to be dangerous, unlike hawks. They are known to have a friendly temperament. However, the males tend to become aggressive during the breeding season.
Unlike mockingbirds, these birds are known to make good pets. They are easy to train and have a calm nature. However, they should be kept in confinement to protect them from predators.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
Blue-eared pheasants belong to the genus Crossoptilon. This bird was first identified by Brian Houghton Hodgson, a British ethnologist, in 1838. The word 'Crossoptilon' is derived from a Greek word, 'krossoi',meaning 'fringe' and 'ptilon', meaning 'feather'.
A species is considered endemic when it is only found in a particular geographic location and not elsewhere. Blue-eared pheasants are considered to be an endemic species as they are only found in Central China.
Blue-eared pheasants have a sedentary lifestyle, as they spend most of their time perching on the branches of trees. They are also fond of taking sun and dust baths. They are known to make great pets and their calls can be heard over long distances.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our common myna facts and blue tit facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Blue-eared pheasant coloring pages.