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cline01 (1K)

Siamese Fireback

(Lophura diardi)

Lophura diardi

Lophura diardi
Photo courtesy of John Corder, WPA Pheasant CD

Other Names: Diard's Fireback, Diard's Crested Fireback, Siamese Crested Fireback

Range: Indo-China north to Vietnam to eastern Thailand.

Subspecies: None

Habitat: Very dense forests, bamboo and evergreen from sea-level to 2,000 feet.

Description: Very beautiful bird that will attain its adult plumage the first year. The crest is long and made up of purple-black feathers. The facial wattles are bright red, the throat, head and face behind the wattles are black. The breast, neck and upper back is gray with very fine vermiculations. The middle of the back is bright yellow (hence the name "fireback"), the lower back is metallic blue with chestnut fringes. The tail is long and curved with metallic black, blue and green sheens. The wings are gray with black and white streaks; the belly and lower areas are black. The bill is yellow, legs and feet red. Like other species of Lophura, they can grow fairly long spurs that the keeper will need to keep trimmed to prevent injuries to the hen when breeding.

Description, Female: Fireback hens, despite not being colorful, their unique markings make them more attractive than other pheasant hens. The Siamese Fireback hen has no crest, her facial wattles are smaller than the male's, but just as bright. The head, throat, chin and neck are grayish-brown; the upper back and upper breast are bright chestnut. The lower back, wings and tail are chestnut, vermiculated with white and black. The bill is dark gray and the legs and feet are red.

Status in Wild: Not much is known of this specie's status in the wild, but with rapid deforestation in its native lands, its outlook can not be good.

Misc Info: PDF article on the: Altitudinal differences in habitat use by Siamese fireback Lophura diardi and silver pheasant Lophura nycthemera in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. Paper presented at the 4th International Galliformes Symposium, 2007, Chengdu, China.
The species is named for the French naturalist & explorer Pierre-Medard Diard (1794-1863) by ornithologist Charles Lucien Bonaparte who first described the species 1856.

Avicultural Data

Status in Aviculture: Uncommon

Breeding Season: May to July.

Breeding Age: Third year, but I've heard from those who have had some second year males that were fertile. Males will attain adult plumage the first year, but will have smaller tails than mature birds.

Clutch Size: 5 to 8 eggs.

Incubation Period: 24-25 days.

Misc. Aviculture Notes: This species was once readily available in America, but has somewhat declined over the last 15 years. They do best in a large planted aviary with lots of shade to simulate the forests for which they naturally inhabit. Siamese Fireback will require good shelter and heat during the colder months in northern climates. Provide the birds with plenty of green food and mealworms.


Click on thumbnails for larger views.

1 2 3

Photo Credits
(l to r): 1, Jan Harteman; 2, Myles Lamont; 3, Mel Royal.

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.
  • 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.
  • Robson, C. 2002. Birds of Thailand. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.


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