Koklass Pheasant

Pucrasia macrolopha

The Koklass Pheasant is a beautiful little pheasant from parts of the Himalayas as well as Afganistan, India, Nepal and the North East of Tibet and China. They tend to live at high altitudes in mainly forested areas or places with dense vegetation. As well as the nominate race, Pucrasia macrolopha macrolopha, there are another nine subspecies. Our own is the Nepal Koklass Pheasant, Pucrasia macrolopha nipalensis. In captivity the Koklass Pheasant does best with a fairly large grassy pen and like all pheasants prefers to have shrubs to hide among and peck at or roost on. Our Koklass have the same diet as our other pheasants but do need a pen with an abundance of vegetation as they do much better if they have plenty of greens available to them. They are hardy birds however they do seem to be prone to parasitic infection so should be wormed on a regular basis. The cock has lovely markings which although not brightly coloured are still a splendid sight. The plumage on the upper body mainly black with each feather surrounded by a very pale (almost white) border. The breast and belly are a deep shade of dark chestnut. His tail is fairly short with a mixture of shades of brown throughout and he has a black beak and grey legs. He has a shimmering green head with a pale brown patch on the crown and white patches under the cheeks. His most striking feature is his crest the centre of which is pale and mainly kept flat against the head but this is adorned on either side by two long black tufts which the bird erects like a miniature aerial when in display mode. The hen has similarly lanceolate shaped feathers but like other hens lacks bright colouring. She is still nicely marked and has a small crest. The Koklass Pheasants normally mature in their first year. They will have their adult plumage and a pair can produce fertile eggs usually in April by the time they are around 10 or 11 months old. The eggs are one of the prettiest of pheasant eggs being small and cream in colour speckled with dark splashes of reddish brown. The clutch size can be from 4 - 9 eggs and the hen may well lay a few clutches if the eggs from the first ones are taken. Apparently these birds are better kept in pairs but we have not yet tried them in anything other than this so we can't offer our own opinions at the moment. I will give details of any attempts we may have with more hens to one cock or mixing these birds with others as we gain experience ourselves. We have noticed when rearing chicks they can be quite timid with many of the other pheasant species and we have as a result kept them mostly with our Goldens, Tragopans or hens, only, of some of the bolder species. We have found them easy to rear without any problems. Koklass are not normally considered a bird for a beginner, to pheasant keeping, but are certainly worth considering, when a little experience has been gained. They are fairly quiet pheasants who keep their aviary in order with their neat grazing. We have found them to be little birds with great charm and totally delightful to keep.

Koklass Pheasant hen Koklass Pheasant cock
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