So, you want to see a Golden Pheasant? The male is a truly beautiful bird, and you have 3 options to see one. Firstly, you can go to a zoo, but a SuperBirder would not get much satisfaction from that approach. Option 2 is to plan a trip to one of the many countries where it has been introduced in the wild. These countries include Canada, Mexico, United States, Germany, Belgium, France, Australia, Argentina and many more. This is a feasible option but is not the real deal! There is only one real option for a SuperBirder to see a Golden Pheasant and that is to plan a trip to western China.
Golden Pheasant can be found in a broad swathe that stretches the southern Shaanxi region to central Sichuan. Their preferred habitat includes forest, particularly conifer forests, in hilly and mountainous areas. One would think that the bright plumage of the male would make then easy to spot but it does not. They are elusive and difficult to find.
Reserves where you might see the Golden Pheasant
Tangjiahe Nature Reserve is a great, but remote, place to visit. The main attraction here is the Giant Panda but an array of other interesting wildlife may be seen. The birding is great, and you may get to tick off a Golden Pheasant. Wolong National Nature Reserve, in Wenchuan County, is also home to Giant Pandas and Golden Pheasants, as well as a variety of exciting mammals and birds.
Changqing Nature Reserve is reportedly a good spot to find Golden Pheasants along with other birds such as Crested Kingfisher, Blood Pheasant, Crested Ibis, Upland Buzzard and Red-billed Blue Magpie. The checklist for the reserve is around 150 species. The reserve offers stunning views including a 100-metre-high waterfall. The area known as Baiyangping offers the chance of seeing Giant Pandas.
Their numbers are declining
So, there are plenty of rather remote places in China where you can find Golden Pheasant along with many other interesting species of bird and mammal. Unfortunately, their population is declining in their native habitat due to deforestation and hunting. Some birds are caught and sold into the pet trade. The fact that they share much of their habitat with the Giant Panda may be their saving grace as there are many projects aimed at preserving the Panda’s habitat and to build up the wild population.