Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus)


French: Ithagine ensanglantée German: Blutfasan Spanish: Faisán ensangrentado

Phasianus cruentus


, 1821,



Considerable intermediacy between most of the described subspecies suggests that much of the variation observed is probably clinal, and validity of many races therefore perhaps dubious; race affinis doubtfully distinct from nominate cruentus, as is holoptilus from rocki, and annae from berezowskii. Subspecies sometimes thought to fall into two groups, the “Red-winged sinensis group”, incorporating sinensis, berezowskii (including annae), beicki and michaelis, and the “Green-winged cruentus group”, with all other races; this division, however, although geographically logical, appears unsatisfactory in terms of morphological characters of the taxa. Fourteen subspecies usually recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. c. cruentus (Hardwicke, 1821) – N Nepal and immediately adjacent S Tibet.
  • I. c. affinis Beebe, 1912 – NE India (Sikkim), W Bhutan and SE Tibet.
  • I. c. tibetanus E. C. S. Baker, 1914 – E Bhutan and SE Tibet (E of affinis).
  • I. c. kuseri Beebe, 1912 – NE India (E Arunachal Pradesh and Upper Assam) and S China (E Tibet, NW Yunnan).
  • I. c. geoffroyi J. P. Verreaux, 1867 – SE Tibet.
  • I. c. marionae Mayr, 1941 – border between NE Myanmar and S China (in W Yunnan).
  • I. c. rocki Riley, 1925 – CS China (Mekong Valley, in NW Yunnan).
  • I. c. holoptilus Greenway, 1933 – CS China (known only from Lijiang District, in Yunnan).
  • I. c. clarkei Rothschild, 1920 – CS China (Lijiang Range, in NW Yunnan).
  • I. c. michaelis Bianchi, 1903 – NC China (NW Gansu and adjacent N Qinghai).
  • I. c. beicki Mayr & Birckhead, 1937 – NC China (NE Qinghai).
  • I. c. berezowskii Bianchi, 1903 – C China (S Gansu and N Sichuan).
  • I. c. annae Mayr & Birckhead, 1937 – WC China (NW Sichuan).
  • I. c. sinensis David, 1873 – C China (Qinling Mts, in Shaanxi).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 44–48 cm (tail 16·5–18 cm); female 39·5–42 cm (tail 14–15·5 cm); 410–655 g. Rather small partridge-like pheasant.... read more


    Territorial call a peculiar phrase of hoarse piercing squeals, “glee-glee-keweee!-keweee!-keweee!”... read more


    In Nepal, inhabits high-altitude rhododendron scrub and other types of subalpine scrub at 3200... read more

    Food and feeding

    In Nepal, feeds principally on moss, leaf litter and grass shoots; droppings in spring included beetle wing cases; other insects also taken... read more


    Lays from mid Apr to late June; most nests found in May. Coveys disband in Apr in Bhutan, when pairs form. Believed to be monogamous, but... read more


    Extent of altitudinal movement due to snowfall varies with geographical location. In summer occurs... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: cruentus/affinis/tibetanus/geoffroyi/berezowski/beicki/... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 December 2019).