Fun Imperial Pheasant Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Aug 30, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Oct 20, 2021
Interesting imperial pheasant facts for kids to enjoy learning.

The Imperial Pheasant (Lophura imperialis) is an endemic and rare bird species having a history of carefully conducted hybridization experiments.

It is a cross between the Edward Pheasant (Lophura edwarsi) and the subspecies, called annamensis of silver pheasant (L. nycthemera) and is a result of hybrid experiments and DNA analysis, demonstrated by morphology hybrid experiments. The origin of the Imperial Pheasant was in the forests of Vietnam that dates back to a long history in 1923.

Jean Delacour, a French, first spotted a pair of this bird species in Vietnam.

Soon, he transported them to his own estate in France, Europe, to deduce more information about this elusive bird species. Although they survive and are bred well in captivity, they are rarely found in the wild because of their endangered status.

Till now only four specimens of individual birds have been over a span of 100 years in the wild, giving them a place as a Critically Endangered bird species in the IUCN Red List.

These rooster-like birds are specifically known for their glossy feathers, dark blue crest, fluffy tail feathers, and crimson legs and faces.

Look wise, they fairly resemble the Edward Pheasant having dark blue feathers and the Silver Pheasant with white central tail feathers. Intrigued to know more about how the Imperial Pheasant bird species was discovered in history consequent to morphology hybrid experiments and DNA analyses?

Read on to know more exciting details about this unique bird.

You can also check out emu facts and house wren facts here.

Imperial Pheasant Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Imperial Pheasant?

The imperial pheasant (Lophura imperialis) is a bird species native to a few Southeast Asian countries.

What class of animal does an Imperial Pheasant belong to?

The imperial pheasant (Lophura imperialis) is a bird species that belongs to the class Aves. This bird species has a hybrid origin and belongs to the family of Phasianidae.

How many Imperial Pheasants are there in the world?

There is little data about the exact population size of these species present in the world. But their state of the population has largely dwindled pushing them almost to the verge of extinction, mostly because of anthropogenic interference.

Where does an Imperial Pheasant live?

The imperial pheasant is an extremely rare bird species found in Vietnam and Laos.

What is an Imperial Pheasant's habitat?

The habitat of an imperial pheasant consists of lowland forests, evergreen forests, near streams, woodlands, and shrublands. These birds prefer living around forests as their diet is mostly plant-based. Because of their extremely dwindling population, they are kept in captivity as museum specimens for conservation and conducting scientific research.

Who do Imperial Pheasants live with?

As this bird species is a product of a hybridization experiment, they are not well adapted to living with other species. Hence, they prefer living in solitude or in pairs.

How long does an Imperial Pheasant live?

The average lifespan of the imperial pheasant is around 12 years in captivity. Due to extreme habitat loss, their survival chances in the wild have come down a great extent.

How do they reproduce?

Although limited information is available on the exact process of reproduction among these birds, some details are known about the process of hybridization. The study conducted by Jean Delacour in 1923 after transferring a pair of these Vietnamese birds to France was done by conducting a hybridization experiment.

Following this, it was ascertained that the Imperial Pheasant is an occasional cross between the Edward Pheasant and the Silver Pheasant.

Thereafter, no trace of these birds was found in Vietnam, until an immature male was spotted in the lowland forests of Vietnam.

Finally, further research was conducted at the Zoological Park of Clères in France and after several hypotheses conducted by curating museum specimens and photographs, it was concluded that the alleles of the Imperial Pheasants match with Edward Pheasant and Silver Pheasant. Since then, they are conserved and kept in captivity to safeguard them from hunting and habitat loss.

What is their conservation status?

At present, the Imperial Pheasant (Lophura imperialis) has been categorized as an Endangered species in the IUCN Red List. As it is they are a rare bird endemic to Vietnam and Laos, on top of that human interference in their native habitat has consequently led to habitat loss, threatening their survival in the wild.

Imperial Pheasant Fun Facts

What do Imperial Pheasants look like?

We've been unable to source an image of an imperial pheasant and have used an image of a ring-necked pheasant instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of an imperial pheasant, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

Cool things you shouldn't miss out on about the imperial pheasant.

The imperial pheasant is a beautiful bird species having a dark blue feather crest lying above a contrasting red featherless face. Its entire body is covered with glossy feathers of dark blue, blackish-brown color. The legs are short and red while its tail feathers are long and fluffy, making up one-third of its body size.

How cute are they?

These hybrids are very attractive to look at. Although they resemble a rooster by looks, their uniquely crescent-shaped body shape with glossy plumage, dark blue crest, and fluffy tail feathers give them a cute appearance.

The crimson red face, devoid of feathers and crimson legs gives a contrasting effect to their entire look, making them immensely attractive to look at.

How do they communicate?

They are capable of communicating verbally giving out distinct calls. They call out to ward off predators or to attract a perfect partner and sometimes call out casually as well.

How big is an Imperial Pheasant?

The length of an imperial pheasant extends up to 30 in (75 cm). They are slightly bigger than the Edward Pheasant (l edwardsi) and are three times longer than a rooster or hen and are three times smaller than a peahen.

How fast can an Imperial Pheasant fly?

The exact flying speed of these birds is not known.

How much does an Imperial Pheasant weigh?

The exact weight of these medium-sized bird species is not known yet.

What are the male and female names of the species?

They have no sex-specific names.

What would you call a baby Imperial Pheasant?

There are no separate names assigned to a baby imperial pheasant.

What do they eat?

These bird species are omnivorous eaters and eat nuts, seed pellets, small insects, worms, bugs, and bird food in conservation centers.

Are they dangerous?

The imperial pheasant (Lophura imperialis) has not been proven to be dangerous to any human being. These rare birds of hybrid origin created through hybrid experiments and DNA analysis as demonstrated by morphology hybrid experiments are not very dangerous to other faunal species as well, except for small insects and worms.

They aren't great as a predator and hence is not a dangerous bird species.

Would they make a good pet?

Even after a long history of their arrival out of the hybrid origin, these birds always remained a rare species, endemic only to Laos and Vietnam. Added to this were the widespread habitat loss and hunting that intensified their lowering numbers.

These led to the conservation of these species in primaries and aviaries. Hence, keeping them as pets is not at all possible and can be a punishable offense. Also, these rare birds should be allowed to live life in the wild rather than being caged at home.

Did you know...

Imperial pheasants (Lophura imperialis) are longer in size than the Vietnamese or Edward's pheasants having a long tail and an entirely dark blue crest.

Females have more blackish tails and primaries, shorter and erect crest feathers than male pheasants.

Another thing to know is the low state of the population of these species is consequent to their low adaptive capacities in the wild as they are a hybrid subspecies.

How did Imperial Pheasants get their name?

The origin of their name is in Vietnam, which was later transferred to the estate of Delacour and Jabouille for study. These hybrids got their name from Delacour who proposed its name after deducing its relation with two other individual bird subspecies.

What is unique about the Imperial Pheasant?

Firstly, the endemic origin of the imperial pheasant being restricted to Vietnam and Laos is unique. Next, is its rarity in the wild that leads to spotting them after every 10 years in the wild.

Another feature is its hybrid history and its Critically Endangered status. Their rooster-like look with a brown feathered body and long fluffy tail feathers and a dark blue crest atop a red face gives them a unique appearance.

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 leghorn chicken facts and greater sage-grouse facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable pheasant coloring pag

We've been unable to source an image of an Imperial Pheasant and have used an image of a Siamese fireback instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of an Imperial Pheasant, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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