Male: A large blackish-blue pheasant. Short white crest; upper back and elongated central tail feathers silvery-white. Scapulars purple-maroon. Plumage generally velvety-black, glossed with iridescent blue-green scaling on upper-parts and streaks on underparts. Facial area and wattles are red.
Female: Smaller; general plumage grayish-brown with fine barring on wings. Wings and tail dark chestnut. Lacks crest and has reduced red facial wattles. Underparts cinnamon with black barring. Iris, brown; bill, yellowish-horn; legs, red.
Inhabits primary and mature secondary moist hardwood forests from 300–2,800 m.
Shy and alert, with varied diet of acorns, berries, flower buds, leaves, earthworms, millipedes, termites. Feeds in early morning and late afternoon along trail edges in herbaceous ground cover. Feeds by digging. Male gives wing-whirring display during the breeding season, from March to July. Nests near the foot of a tree or under a rock. Clutch size 3–8 eggs; incubation period 25 days.
Swinhoe’s Pheasant is considered globally Near-threatened. Heavy hunting pressure was a problem in the past. The species vanished from several localities in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but remains common in suitable habitat, and is found in several protected areas. The population is stable where protected, but may be declining elsewhere because of pressures on habitat.
Local common names include: blue pheasant, mountain chicken and red-footed mountain chicken.
References: Endemic Species of Taiwan, compiled by Greenland Ecology Conservation Association of R.O.C.