The Beautiful Game (part one)

Subtitle: Regional colour variation in species Phasianus colchicus, the Common Pheasant.

Well, the first time I saw this bird I thought it was a Badger.

Common Pheasant

I know that it doesn’t look an awful lot like a Badger now and I am supposed to be a bit of an expert on Badgers. (Badgers have four legs)

The first time I saw it I was walking down a narrow and overgrown country lane toward a Badger main sett. Fizz was with me and way ahead of us I could see an animal running along the track dodging through the undergrowth. I thought that it was moving like a bird but all that I could really see was it’s silver back and the only thing that I could think of that size and colour was a Badger.

I know better now.. (Badgers can’t fly)

Phasianus colchicusI have seen it three times now. After photographing it in this field I saw it again on the Badger track in exactly the same circumstances and this time I had no trouble identifying it as a bird. (My expertise grows)

Phasianus colchicusI always think of Pheasants as brown birds and so I had to ask the question why is mine this colour. What I found out was that there is a lot of colour variation in pheasants and this one isn’t particularly unusual. Also colour variation tends to be regional and that means we might have quite a few silver backs around here.

Common Pheasant

Common Pheasant

Common PheasantSo it might not be the same bird that I keep meeting.

Common PheasantI have done some research myself into this question of regional colour variation.

I looked out of my bedroom window.

Common PheasantI am not sure. They don’t look particularly silver to me. One of them is a bit silver. I will have to find some more.

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