The Copper Pheasant, Syrmaticus soemmerringii, also known as Soemmerring’s Pheasant, is endemic to the hill and mountain forests of Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku islands of Japan.
This pheasant is evaluated as Near Threatened due to ongoing habitat loss and overhunting in some areas.
The scientific name commemorates the German scientist Samuel Thomas von Sömmering.
The Copper Pheasant is a large pheasant, averaging up to 136cm in length.
The male has a rich coppery chestnut plumage. He has a yellowish bill, brown iris, and red facial skin. Only the male has a short spur on his grey legs.
The female is a brown bird with greyish brown upperparts and buff barred dark brown below.
Natural Diet / Feeding:
The diet consists mainly of insects, arthropods, roots, leaves, and grains.
Keeping and Breeding the Ijima Copper Pheasant
Courtesy of Alan Downie and Zoë A. Hunter
Allandoo Pheasantry – Breeders of Ornamental Pheasants in Southwest Scotland
The copper pheasants are endemic to Japan and live in heavily wooded areas with thick undergrowth. The Ijima is one of five subspecies.
The cock is easily recognised by the large white patch on the lower back and rump. He has a beautiful long tail which is about twice the length of his body (roughly around 2½’ / 70-80cm). The color of the cock is as its name suggests a coppery reddish brown which with the tiniest ray of light shines more like gold. The hen although she lacks the iridescence and long tail of her male counterpart is a very pretty bird. She is heavily flecked with many shades of brown and black with a white stripe under her eye and on some birds red can be seen around the eye too. As with most hens her colouring gives her excellent camouflage.
The cock can become very aggressive towards the hen as the days become longer. Therefore, plenty of cover must be given to allow the hen some places to hide. We include many plants, including evergreens, in our aviaries as well as some twiggy branches and extra perches in the shelters of our Coppers.
As Copper pheasants are hardy no heat is needed in their shelters.
Spending time with Copper pheasants is important as they take fright easily. We have soft netting as a roof over our aviaries (except the shelters) so if the birds fly straight up, as they tend to if they panic, they will not be severely injured. If you can get these birds used to yourself and other people if possible it will calm them down immensely and you will have great joy watching these gorgeous birds at their best.
We feed our birds a proprietary pheasant pellet and a few extra treats daily. These include many types of fruit and vegetation, grains, and nuts, and many of our birds, including our Coppers, appreciate some live food, mainly mealworms.
The Copper hen will start to lay her eggs in April. She will lay 6-12 eggs in a clutch which will take 25 days of incubation to hatch. Coppers can lay 18 – 24 eggs in a year. They will normally have fertile eggs in their first year although the number of eggs laid is usually less.