The Golden Pheasant – 10,000 Birds

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The complete scientific identify of the Golden Pheasant is Chrysolophus pictus, with the “Chrysolophus” half that means “with golden crest” whereas “pictus” means painted. That appears like a wise identify, however then once more, Girl Amherst’s Pheasant (the topic of an earlier post) can also be within the genus “Chrysolophus” regardless of not having a golden crest in any respect.

A company referred to as the Carolina Avian Research and Education states that “for those who google the highest ten most stunning birds on the earth, it [the Golden Pheasant] all the time makes the checklist.”

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True or not? Having as soon as been burned by flawed data on the web, I made a decision to test this for myself. Right here is the results of the primary few web sites {that a} Google search introduced up:
A-Z animals: Not included within the high 10
The Mysterious World: Included and taking the No. 1 spot
The Coolist: Included within the high 10 (no particular order)
World Web Times: Included and taking the No. 1 spot
Sprintally: Not included within the high 10 (regardless of some reasonably broad “chook species” making into the checklist, e.g. “kingfisher”)
Chipper Birds: It is a checklist of the highest 30 however the Golden Pheasant is listed as No. 3, so, sure.
Tajbirds: Included at No. 6.
Bscholarly: It is a checklist of the highest 12, however the Golden Pheasant lands the highest spot, so sure.
Styles at Life: Sure, included. However the checklist additionally consists of the Mute Swan, which I personally discover fairly ugly …
Allabouttopten: Sure, included – bonus factors for together with the Black-naped Monarch, although a few of these bonus factors are instantly deducted for utilizing the identify “black-naped blue flycatcher”
Webspy: Included, and with a transparent assertion – “it’s the most stunning chook on the earth in 2023.”
Owlcation: Included at quantity 7 however species is probably not listed in any explicit order.
Legit: Included and taking the quantity 2 spot.

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There are various extra such web sites, however taking a look at them it will get boring in a short time. So, right here’s the outcome: Out of 13 web sites, 11 embody the Golden Pheasant of their high 10. And I realized that there are lots of extra ineffective web sites than I ever thought attainable.

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For good measure, I additionally requested ChatGPT concerning the 10 most tasty chook species – it doesn’t embody the pheasant however thoughtfully warns that “the idea of attractiveness can range from individual to individual” …

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Anyway, first-year male Golden Pheasants present a mixture of female and male options and are hardly ever chosen as one of many high ten most stunning birds.

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However the appears to be like of the grownup male Golden Pheasant make it a sexy chook for animal parks, zoos, and related locations – for instance, it has its personal webpage at Seaworld and at a spot referred to as Marineland on the Cote D’Azur.

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I assume in China, there may be all the time cash for analysis associated to Big Pandas. One such examine regarded on the consideration the pandas pay to totally different species, utilizing eye-tracking expertise. It turns out the pandas will not be very serious about Golden Pheasants regardless of their place among the many high 10 most stunning chook species.

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These readers with barely morbid pursuits may need to search out a paper within the Turkish Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences describing the case of heavy combined an infection of Golden Pheasants by Heterakis isolonche and H. gallinarum (source). Full with coloration footage of the contaminated areas – excellent for printing out and adorning front room partitions.

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Sadly, the HBW states that Golden Pheasants are thought of an costly delicacy in eating places.

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When on the lookout for literature on Golden Pheasants, I stumbled throughout a thesis titled “Golden Pheasants and Japanese Kings: The German District Administration within the Occupied Soviet Union, 1941–1944”. Whereas this was unlikely to result in any bird-related data, I nonetheless wanted to determine what the time period “Golden Pheasant” stands for on this non-avian context.

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A footnote within the thesis gives a solution: “‘Golden Pheasant‘ (Goldfasanen) was a derogatory time period to explain the civil administration [of the areas occupied by the Nazis]. The phrase itself referred to the yellow-brown uniform … It was additionally used to explain long-time Nazis who got essential positions within the Occasion or one in all its organizations.” (supply: Fritz Hillenbrand, Underground Humour in Nazi Germany: 1933-1945, Routledge: London).
And the principle textual content of the thesis explains: “Total, these ‘Golden Pheasants‘, as they had been referred to by navy personnel, indiscriminately plundered the native inhabitants and displayed a eager style for vodka, girls and public executions. In brief, the civil administration was supposedly composed of ‘blockheads and ass-lickers, ‘drunk on energy.’”

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One other use of the chook identify is to explain rich potential donors, which a priest gathering funds for a hospital thus described as his “Golden Pheasants” -as revealed within the journal (?) “The Hospital” in 1890 (source).

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One British birder describes the decline of the Golden Pheasant in Britain – the place it had been launched within the late nineteenth century – and ends this with the assertion that as a consequence of the presumed extinction, “Golden Pheasant will thus symbolize a real blocker on the British and Western Palearctic lists in years to return”. The unusual pondering of listers.

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Apparently, in Chinese language tradition, the Golden Pheasant is considered the ancestor of the phoenix and represents auspiciousness (source).

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Some researchers offered Golden Pheasants (and two different species, the Chukar Partridge and the Ring-necked Pheasant) with a novel object (a white tennis ball – the researchers had been Australian, so perhaps one left over from the Australian Open).
The Golden Pheasants had been those least more likely to strategy and react to the tennis ball. Inside the species, reactions had been stronger by males, by teams of birds reasonably than people, and by captive birds. In science converse, this then ends in the next conclusion:
“Outcomes from particular person topic checks had been interpreted as reflecting species-specific strategy/avoidance behaviors. Group patterns of habits had been interpreted as reflections of regular responses to novel conditions within the birds’ realm of expertise with conspecifics.” Sounds extra subtle, proper?

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Jennifer Hill acquired her Ph.D. in biology on the College of Mexico taking a look at sexual choice in Golden Pheasants. She discovered that the females favor males with full grownup plumage reasonably than the one-year males, and males with longer cape feathers. And among the many males, male spur size was the most effective indicator of the standing of a male within the hierarchy.

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It sounds type of apparent, however scientific rigor requires to show the apparent as nicely. So, research discovered that the flight initiation distance of grownup male Golden Pheasants is persistently longer than that of the better-camouflaged grownup females and juveniles of both intercourse. And certainly, it was simpler to get photographs of the juvenile male than of the grownup male, although I believed this was because of the larger stupidity of the juvenile reasonably than its much less sensible look.

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And eventually, if Golden Pheasant mother and father need to frighten their chicks, they inform them the true story of a Nice Gray Owl attacking captive pheasants.

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