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cline01 (1K)

Blood Pheasant
(Ithaginis cruentus)

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cline01 (1K)

Ithaginis cruentus

Ithaginis cruentus
Photo by Francois Bernar

Additional Information

Breeding Season:

Breeding Age:

Clutch Size: 5-12 eggs.

Incubation Period:: 27-29 days.

Description - Male: Quite unlike any other pheasant species is appearance, resembles partridge in both size and shape. The nominate race cruentus has a white crest, black line under and over the eye with red orbitial skin and throat. The upper breast is pale buff with red streaks, the lower breast and belly is light buff with marked the same as above but more pronounced. The rest of the body is streaked gray, white and buff. The tail is red also streaked with gray and buff. The main differences in the subspecies is the amount of red on breast and the markings on the face.

Description - Female: The face, forehead and throat are light rust; the top of the head and the back of the neck are gray. The rest of the body is is overall light brown vermiculated with darker brown.

Status in Captivity: I cannot find any sources in American aviaries or zoos. The latest records of this species was in the 1970s when Charles Sivelle had produced chicks. As far as I know (as of 12-2007, please e-mail me if you know otherwise), there are no Blood Pheasants in captivity in America. The species has been recently bred in Belgium by Francois Bernar.

Misc Notes: Francois Bernar mentioned that they are cared for in the same fashion as grouse in captivity.

Visitor Submitted Notes: If you would like to add your experiences with this species, please send submission requests here.

The following information was provided by Ted Norris, February 06, 1999.

Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus), 43 cm for male and 39cm for female. Crest grey, varying in length according to race; forehead, face, and throat red; breast streaked with red; above grey, the feathers prominently white streaked. Female: mainly brown to greyish brown.
Resident in Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Yunnan, Tibet, Shanxi, Henan and Sichuan. Inhabits rather high altitude, near snow line, or lower places in winter. In flocks of 4-20 in non-breeding season, up to 40 in winter. Descends from trees before daybreak to wood margins, gradually moving to and wandering in willow stands with lawns nearby or mixed forests of pine, fir and beech trees. Picks up food with its bill, seldom digs for food with claws but sometimes jumps up to shrubs to feed. Naps at noon and spends night at azalea twigs.
A good runner but poor flier. Rushes down hills, if at risk, and hides under stones. Scatters during breeding season and pairs in mid April. Between late April and early May, female builds a nest under paddy straw heaps surrounded by pine, fir and willow trees; in shrubs; under rocks; by fallen trees; or in tree holes near the ground. A shallow saucer nest of dry twigs lined with leaves; or of leaves, thin tree roots and mosses; piled up and then pressed and decorated with usnea outside; or of paddy straws and leaves, wormwood, pine needles, mosses and dry twigs lined with belly feathers. Eggs: 5-14, often 6-7; long oval, varying in size; pink or yellowish white with dark brown or rufous speckles; laid in May; incubated by female but guarded by male for 29-33 days; and covered with dry grass or feather when female is leaving. In a habit of moving the eggs or deserting the nest if at risk. Chicks seen in mid June, able to follow mother to feed at two days old. Lives in a covey till winter.
Food: clematis, meadowrue, aletris, buttercup, fasciate clearweed, fern, siebold primrose, wormwood, strawberry, pine seeds, rose fruit; snail, insects of lepidoptera, elytroptera and diptera. Voice: encountering enemy for male, "si-"; male's display call, "Jijiji"; calling, "si-si-si"; alarming,"ju-ju-ju-ju"; responding, "Jueqi, jueqi".

cline01 (1K)
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Bibliography and Further Reading

  • Delacour, J. 1977. The Pheasants of the World. 2nd ed., World Pheasant Association and Spur Publications, Hindhead, U.K.
  • Delacour, J. 1978. Pheasants: Their Care and Breeding. T.F.H. Publishing, Neptune, NJ.
  • Grewal, B. 2000. Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. Local Colour Limited, Hong Kong.
  • Grimmett, R., Inskipp, C., Inskipp, T. 2000. Birds of Nepal. Christopher Helm, London; Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
  • Howman, K. 1991. Pheasants of the World: Their Breeding and Management. Hancock House Publishers, Surrey, B.C. Canada.
  • Johnsgard, P.A. 1999. The Pheasants of the World: Biology and Natural History. 2nd ed., Smithsonian Press, Washington D.C.
  • Madge, S., McGowan, P. 2002. Pheasants, Partridges, and Grouse. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

cline01 (1K)

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