- Bird

Woman Amherst’s Pheasant – 10,000 Birds

As you in all probability are conscious, male Woman Amherst’s Pheasants commonly get into fights with different birds. The standard scene is one thing like this: the pheasant enters a chook bar and orders a beer. Another chook within the bar asks for its identify, and it offers an sincere reply: Woman Amherst’s Pheasant. Laughter adopted by ridicule adopted by a struggle. Normally, the pheasant wins.

What most individuals have no idea is that this frequent prevalence was really the inspiration for a Johnny Money track, “Boy named Sue“. After all, as this track was written for people moderately than for birds, the state of affairs was tailored accordingly. The pheasant was was a boy with a ridiculous identify (Sue) who then needed to struggle on a regular basis as any person made enjoyable of his identify. However the gist of the story stays the identical.

And naturally, whereas within the Money track, it’s the (principally absent) father who gave the boy his identify, within the unique occasion it’s god or evolution doing this, with the identical rationale as within the track: “I knew you’d must get powerful or die – It’s that identify that helped to make you robust”.

Why the identify Woman Amherst’s – who they? What do? And why?

Sarah Amherst,  Countess Amherst (1762–1838) was a British naturalist and botanist who lived in India. She was chargeable for sending the primary of those birds to Britain in 1828. She was additionally the primary spouse of William Pitt Amherst 1st Earl Amherst of Arracan, Governor-Common of Bengal. After she died, William determined to stay with the household and married the widowed daughter-in-law of Sarah Amherst and like Sarah, a dowager countess of Plymouth (it took me some time to determine what this implies, however then my mother and father all the time had difficulties explaining to me at household gatherings who was associated with whom).

William additionally had connections to each China and Napoleon, however I’m too lazy to repeat these bits from Wikipedia proper now. Learn it there in order for you.

eBird calls the species an “engaging terrestrial chook”, although, within the tremendous print, this reward is restricted to the male (“stately male is resplendent”) whereas the outline of the feminine is way much less enthusiastic (“feminine brown with black striping and grey pores and skin across the eye”). Sexism, realism, or each? Choose for your self. That is the feminine.



Different sources are much more exuberant – birdfact.com calls the species “one of the crucial putting birds on the planet” (in all probability once more solely referring to the male, although).

The juvenile male has not fairly grasped the truth that with out a good longer tail and extra colourful plumage, it can in all probability by no means have intercourse. Nicely, it can study. I hope it survives the bar fights although.


Woman Amherst’s Pheasant is listed as Least Concern (although it was beforehand listed as Close to Threatened) and has been launched into a number of international locations. I discovered an on-line supply for an grownup pair on the US web site of a hatchery – 206 USD for the pair, although already bought out. The choice is a stuffed chook – however rather more costly at about 1500 USD for a male. In inventory although. Sort of just like the “The solely good Indian is a lifeless Indian” attributed to Common Sheridan. What a world.


In Sichuan, the place these pictures had been taken, they aren’t even that tough to see within the wild, although to get good pictures, it’s best to go to a chook disguise. In any other case, what you’ll most probably get is that this (a typical picture of a male Woman Amherst’s Pheasant taken outdoors of a chook disguise).

The reason is that in keeping with eBird, the pheasant is a “chook of hilly forests with dense patches of undergrowth”.

From some angles, the male Woman Amherst’s Pheasant appears like an meeting of Chinese language lanterns.

In a exceptional feat of doing moderately boring scientific analysis, some Chinese language researchers (probably graduate college students in want of a straightforward subject for a paper) examined the time finances of captive (learn: we the researchers can keep at dwelling at night time or not less than examine right into a lodge close to the zoo and relaxation in a correct mattress as a substitute of getting to sleep in a tent) pheasants: resting 40%, strolling 39%, feeding 11%, preening 5%, breeding 3%.


If you wish to find out about a case of gynandry in Woman Amherst’s Pheasants, look right here. In case you have no idea what gynandry means, look right here first (full disclosure: I didn’t realize it). Mainly, it’s in regards to the feminine Woman turning into the male Woman, not less than with regard to appearances … The outcome then is Woman Woman Amherst’s Pheasant trying like Sir Woman Amherst’s pheasant.


Notice: The species was seen and photographed in Kangding, Erlangshan, and Yibin (all Sichuan province, China) on a tour with AlpineBirding. I do have a powerful curiosity in mentioning this because it means I’ve likelihood to get free beers from them on my subsequent journey.

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