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Mikado Pheasant

(Syrmaticus mikado)

Syrmaticus mikado

Syrmaticus mikado
Photo by Myles Lamont

Subspecies: None recognized.

Range: Central Taiwan.

Subspecies: None recognized.

Habitat: Mountain broadleaf, coniferous and mixed forests from 5,000 to 10,000 feet.

Brief Description: Males are much darker than other species of the genus, being purplish-black overall. The tail and rump have narrow white bars as do the wing coverts. The face wattles are bright red; the bill, legs and feet are gray.

Brief Description, Female: Females are very similar to other Syrmaticus species and are often confused and inadvertently crossed with Elliot's and Bar-tailed. Mikado hens are darker than the other species, lack the dark throat of the Elliot's and the white markings on the breast are more pronounced than the Bar-tailed. The tail is barred with brown, black and white.

Status in Wild: Mikado are listed as an endangered species, but their numbers in the wild appear stable. The range overlaps the Swinhoe's Pheasant Lophura swinhoii, both are protected in several parks and reserves.

Interesting Facts: Was not described as a species until 1906.

Avicultural Data

Status in Aviculture: Mikado are well established in captivity, but their has been some problems due to inbreeding over the past several years. New blood is needed from stock in Europe to keep the American population viable.

Breeding Season: Mikado have been known to lay as early as March, but April to June the most common season in America.

Breeding Age: Males will attain their adult plumage their first year and are often fertile at this age as well. First year hens will lay and are sometimes fertile.

Clutch Size: 5 to 10 eggs.

Incubation Period: 27 to 28 days.

Misc. Aviculture Notes: Mikado are great aviary birds and require same care as others in the genus. I've only heard of a few reports of aggressive males. Thick cover for the hen to nest in is a plus. Being a forest species, be sure to provide plenty of shade in the aviary. Mikado are really fond of greens, so offer different types of lettuce and other green food as often as possible.


Click on thumbnails for larger views.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Photo Credits
(l to r): 1, Lorenz Krassnitzer; 2-5, Roman Kmicikewycz; 6-7, Bud & RoxAnn Riggs.

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.
  • Stattersfield, A.J., Crosby, M.J., Long, A.J., Wege, D.C. 1998. Endemic Bird Areas of the World, Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.


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