Lady Amherst Pheasant Standards
This article first appeared in the May 1994 issue of the Heartland News. The Lady Amherst, and its close relative the Golden, are perhaps the two most commonly kept ornamental pheasant. Unfortunately, both of these species have been allowed to interbreed in captivity, this article will help breeders determine the purity of their Lady Amherst stock and what to look for when purchasing future breeders.
Standards for Lady Amherst Pheasant (Chrysolophus ampherstiae)
HEAD & NECK:
- Crown: Short metallic green
- Crest: Crimson, narrow, stiff elongated feathers
- Face & Throat: Black with metallic green spots
- Bare Facial Skin & Lappet: Bluish or bluish-green
- Ruff: White, rounded feathers with a blue or black border
- Beak: Bluish gray
- Iris: Yellow
- Mantle: Metallic bluish green, rounded feathers with a black border edged with scintillant (sparkling) green
- Upper & Middle Back: Black with a green bar and a wide buffy yellow fringe; square, broad feathers
- Rump: Black with a green bar and a vermilion fringe (like an irregular patch), square, broad feathers
- Breast: Metallic bluish green, rounded feathers with a black border edged with scintillant green which is wider and brighter than mantle
- Lower Breast: White
- Flanks: White, sometimes with a slight tinge of pale yellow over the white on the lower sides
- Abdomen: White
- Vent: White, barred with black and brownish-gray
- Scapulars: Metallic bluish green, with black border edged with scintillant green; rounded feathers
- Wing Coverts: Dark metallic blue with black borders
- Primaries: Blackish-brown sparsely barred with buff
- Central Rectrices: White, with curved unbroken crescent shaped blackish-blue bars and wavy black lines on the interspaces
- Other Rectrices: Similar on the narrow inner web, silvery-gray passing to brown outside with curved black bars on the outer web
- Upper Tail Coverts: Mottled black and white with long orange-vermilion tips
- Under Tail Coverts: Black and dark green more or less barred with white
- Length: 33 7/8 to 45 inches
LEGS & FEET:
SIZE: 50 to 66 1/2 inches
- Thighs: Mottle white, black and brown
- Tarsus & Feet: Bluish gray
Common Faults of a Lady Amherst Cock
1. Traces of some color other than green in the crown. The red of the crest should stop precisely where the green begins.
2. Traces of red in the breast or on the flanks.
3. Facial color not bluish-green.
4. Dark gray or brownish color in the white area between the bars on the central rectrices.
5. Broken or mottled barring on the central rectrices.
6. Small size, approaching that of the Goldens.
7. Yellowish legs.
HEAD & NECK:
- Crown: Reddish chestnut with black barring
- Sides of Head & Neck: Blackish brown, spotted with cinnamon buff strongly washed with reddish chestnut with dark blackish barring with a green sheen
- Face: Buff, strongly tinged with reddish chestnut
- Upper Throat: Pale buff, sometimes white
- Lower Throat: Buff, strongly tinged with reddish chestnut
- Lores, Cheeks, & Ear Coverts: Silvery gray spotted with black
- Orbital Skin: Light slaty-blue
- Beak: Bluish-gray
- Iris: Brown, sometimes pale yellow or gray in older hens
- Mantle: Rufous (rust) buff, strongly washed with reddish-chestnut, with dark barring having a greenish sheen
- Back: Chestnut, strongly vermiculated with black
- Flanks: Buff with dark blackish barring
- Breast: Buff with darkish brown barring with a green sheen
- Abdomen: Pale buff, sometimes white
- Wing Coverts, Tertiaries & Secondaries: Rufous buff, washed with reddish chestnut, black barring with a green sheen, bars courser that those on the mantle
- Tail: Rufous brown, rounded feathers at the tip, strongly marked with broad irregular bars of black, buff and pale gray vermiculated with black
- Length: 12 1/8 to 26 3/4 inches
LEGS & FEET:
SIZE: 26 to 26 3/4 inches (Larger than a Golden hen)
- Thighs: Buff, mottled black and brown
- Legs & Feet: Bluish-gray
Common Faults of a Lady Amherst Hen
1. Lack of reddish chestnut on the head, neck, throat and upper breast.
2. No gray marking on the tail.
3. Lack of distinct barring on the tail.
4. Yellowish legs.
Body Regions of a Ruffed Pheasant
© May 1994 The Heartland News