Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Green Pheasant (Phasianus versicolor)


French: Faisan versicolore German: Buntfasan Spanish: Faisán verde
Other common names: Japanese Pheasant

Phasianus versicolor


, 1825,

Java; error = Japan


May be conspecific with P. colchicus, but in Japan the latter apparently dies out when introduced in range of present species, as it seems unable to hybridize successfully; nevertheless, the two hybridize extensively in Hawaii, where both introduced. Differs from P. colchicus in its (in male) blackish-green underparts, neck and mantle, and greener rump feathering (4); differently patterned wing-coverts (1); (in female) more blotched and vermiculated underparts (2); and (in both sexes) shorter tail (1). Hybridization with Syrmaticus soemmerringii occasionally recorded in the wild. Proposed races kigis, maedius and nankaidi are included in robustipes, kiusiuensis in nominate, and affinis in tanensis. Four subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. v. robustipes Nagamichi Kuroda, 1919 – N Honshu and Sado I (Japan).
  • P. v. tohkaidi Momiyama, 1922 – W & C Honshu and Shikoku.
  • P. v. versicolor Vieillot, 1825 – SW Honshu and Kyushu, including Goto Is.
  • P. v. tanensis Nagamichi Kuroda, 1919 – EC Honshu (Izu and Miura Peninsulas) and nearby Izu Is, and Tanega-shima and Yaku-shima (off S Kyushu).
  • Introduced to Hawaii.

    Descriptive notes

    Male c. 81·5 cm (tail 27–42·5 cm), 900–1400 g; female c. 58 cm (tail 20–27·5 cm), 692–970 g. Male differs from that of P.... read more


    Territorial call of male consists of two harsh explosive crows, “corrr .. corrr”, usually followed... read more


    Occurs in park and farmland, areas of bush, tea plantations, riverine thickets and open woodland in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet believed to be similar to that of P. colchicus, but possibly with higher proportion of wild seeds, fruits, berries and nuts,... read more


    Probably Apr–May in C Japan (Honshu), but from mid Mar on S Kyushu. Apparently species is both monogamous and polygamous, with mating... read more


    Only information is of some seasonal movements in high snowfall areas of N Honshu. Apparently... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. No overall population estimate. Declared Japan’s national bird in 1947; familiar to people in legends, and... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Green Pheasant (Phasianus versicolor). 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 10 December 2019).