This video is called Lady Amherst’s Pheasant Dance – with hissing (turn up the audio).
In the video, these splendid birds are in an aviary, too cramped to show the full beauty of their mating dance: complex moves of attraction and repulsion.
We went to see these pheasants in their natural environment.
Lady Amherst sent the first two male individuals of this species to London in 1828. In 1829, ornithologist Benjamin Leadbeater gave them their scientific name. There used to be feral Lady Amherst’s pheasants in England, but they became extinct about 2015; because of, according to daily The Independent, ‘culling by gamekeepers who believe they endanger fox hunts because they run rather than fly.’
That day we went from Chengdu to Kangding city, and then still higher, to a viewing screen where wild Lady Amherst’s pheasants live.
Chengdu is at 500 metres; the viewing screen at 2649.
From Chengdu to Kangding was by airplane. Many snowy mountains were visible from the plane.
Kangding (Chinese name; Tibetan name: Dartsedo) is the capital of the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province. That region is called Ganzi in Tibetan. 77,8% of its inhabitants are Tibetan. It should not be confused with Tibet proper which is further west.
Signs at Kangding airport are in three languages: Mandarin Chinese, Tibetan and English.
Kangding airport is at over 4,000 meter. Much snow when we arrived. We went down by bus to the city, at 2,560 meter. Just before the city center was a meadow with yaks.
From the city, we went to the viewing screen.
Male and female Lady Amherst’s pheasants were busy with mating dances.
There was one adult male and several females.
Moving the male’s beautiful long tail into several directions is an important part of the mating dance.
Females sometimes ran away from the male, sometimes towards him.
Stay tuned, as there will be more on this blog about Lady Amherst’s pheasants and other wildlife!