Do Pheasants Change Colors? (Explained)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

The beautiful color of pheasants is one of their most remarkable characteristics. These lovely birds come in a variety of hues, which makes them particularly beautiful. 

We cannot, however, deny that the male pheasants appear to be more colorful. 

Most animals have been observed to change color. I’m sure the chameleon springs to mind when you think of animals that change their appearance. 

However, other animals also display this unique characteristic. Some of these animals include the octopus, the green anole, and even some birds such as the rock ptarmigan. 

But, do pheasants change color? Let us find out.

Do Pheasants Change Color? 

Do Pheasants Change Colors

Yes, pheasants do change colors. Isn’t that surprising? I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed. If you aren’t used to training birds, this would be new to you. 

Pheasants do, change color. But, they do not automatically change colors; that is, you cannot buy a green pheasant and then expect it to turn blue overnight. 

Instead, they change color by shedding their feathers. Pheasants are noted for shedding their feathers at the end of each season.

Then it sprouts new feathers in a variety of colors. 

You may be asking if other birds engage in this behavior. Surakarta is one such bird. According to studies, the bird’s color changes every second.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on whether pheasants eat raisins

Why Do Pheasants Change Color?

Birds can change color. Some, on the other hand, are red flags that we should be wary of. Here are some of the possible causes of pheasant color changes. 


Young pheasant feathers typically change color as they grow away from being juvenile. Usually, as it ages, it develops different colored feathers. 

Pigments are found in bird feathers. Chemical coloring is another term for it. And it is basically what causes feather coloring in birds. 

Pigments react to hormones and chemicals in the pheasant’s body as it matures. Then it changes into other colors.

To blend in with their surroundings 

Pheasants can usually change their color to blend in with their surroundings. This is commonly referred to as camouflage.

This is what chameleons are known to do. Pheasants, on the other hand, have been observed doing the same thing. 


Pheasants only molt once a year. This normally occurs after the breeding season. When the female pheasant begins its incubation cycle, the male pheasant enters the molting season. 

Male pheasants are usually less aggressive at this time of year. And they are frequently infertile throughout this time. This is a significant time in their lives. 


Pheasants’ colors can also alter due to illness. Typically, their color fades. Although pheasants do not show signs of disease on time. 

So, when these symptoms appear, they may be seriously sick. They may even start losing their feathers.

However, do not confuse this with their molting time. One method to tell a sick bird from a molting bird is that the sick bird will be exceedingly feeble.


When female pheasants no longer produce eggs, they begin to molt into male plumage. This is referred to as gynandry.

Gynandry can be referred to as ‘menopause’ which female humans experience. During this time, the female pheasant has stopped creating female hormones. And can no longer deposit eggs at this point. 

Most of the time, it may result in her death. However, if she lives, she begins to take on certain male characteristics. 

Most persons refer to gynandry as sex change. But this is not true. Even though the female will never lay another egg, the males will continue to mate with the gynandrous female. 

Furthermore, females may become victims of predators as a result of this. As they age, their metabolism slows.

Also check out this article on pheasants and damaging gardens

What Color Should Pheasants Be?

Pheasants come in a range of colors. Male pheasants come in a variety of colors. However, it is dependent on the species in question. 

Males are often golden brown with black markings on their bodies and tails. They also come with a dark green head or red face wattle. A white neck ring is not seen in all species. 

Male ringneck pheasants are available in a range of colors, including gold, brown, purple, green, and with body plumage. It has blue and green plumage on its head, with a red face wattle. 

Females have a darker or paler brown and black appearance. This is the case with all females, regardless of their species. 

They are more muted and less ostentatious. Their skin is a variety of dark shades. Their upper bodies are often lighter in color.

Are There Blue Pheasants? 

Yes, there are blue pheasants. Blue pheasants are especially widespread in central China’s highland forests. 

There are the blue-eared pheasants. They’re big, robust birds. They are primarily a deep blue-gray tint color. It does, however, have brilliant red face patches. 

There are also Swinhoe’s pheasants. It is often referred to as the Taiwan blue pheasant. It has a red face with white patches on it.

Male and female Taiwan blue pheasants typically share identical coloration. 

The blackness extends to the head, neck, and breast. Their eyes are yellow, and their hands and feet are crimson.

The rest of their plumage is mostly blue. And they have white tips and their underwing covets are dark gray.

Mikado pheasants glow blue in the sun as well. In the shadow, it is naturally dark, but in the sunlight, it might be blue or purple. They also have wattles and a white-striped tail. 

Do Male Pheasants Change Color

Male pheasants can change color. They appear more like females when they are young. 

However, by 2-3 months of age, they begin to develop their vivid and colorful feathers.

Their beautiful colors help us tell the difference between males and females. When they reach adulthood, though, this becomes more pronounced. 

Do Pheasants Change Color In Winter

During the winter, male pheasants change color. This is done to keep predators at bay. So, it serves as a natural protective system. 

Pheasants typically lose their feathers at the end of each season and grow new feathers of varying colors.

This is done to blend in with the new environment. They change color not just in the winter, but also in the summer.

Why Are Male Pheasants Colorful 

It is already known that male pheasants are more colorful than females. So, what could be the reason? Why are they so colorful? 

Male pheasants are more colorful for no apparent reason. They were just created that way.

So, I guess it’s nature’s blessing to them. 

However, we can’t deny the benefits this gives us. For one, it helps us distinguish males from females. 

Male pheasants typically compete with one another for the attention of female pheasants. They usually showcase their colors to the female pheasant.

Male pheasants also show off their colorful feathers to indicate that they have control over a specific area.

Female pheasants are more likely to prefer a male with more vibrant colors. This is because a male pheasant with bright colors is said to be healthier. 

Although structural pigments are responsible for their vibrant colors. Adding some meals might also help to improve the color of your bird.

Predators may also reject a dull-colored male pheasant. This is because a dull color may signify a sick or malnourished bird.

This is also why female birds are not often prey to predators. 

A predator would be naturally drawn to a brightly colored pheasant. And because female pheasants have drab coloring, they are not ideal prey.

Do Male Pheasants Change Their Colors To Attract A Mate

Male pheasants use their flashy tails to attract females. And the females are attracted to more colorful male pheasants.

To attract females, they stretch their tails and wings, parading them before the females. 

Male pheasants are also known to grow much larger than females. 

However, no evidence that backs up pheasants changing colors to attract a partner.

As previously said, adult male pheasants change color after breeding. And at this time, they are usually infertile. 

Can You Get White Pheasants? 

Yes, you can get white pheasants. They are, however, quite uncommon. And they are frequently confused with albino pheasants. 

The white pheasants are known as the leucistic variety. Leucism is a condition in which the natural pigments of the feathers are lacking.

You can tell them apart by looking at the color of their eyes. The white leucistic have normal black eyes. Albinos, on the other hand, have pink eyes. 

Furthermore, research has revealed that both white and albino-colored pheasants are the result of a genetic defect.

This means that naturally pheasants should not have these colors. 


Pheasants’ colors are known to change once a year. They do this by shedding their old feathers and growing new ones in a variety of colors. 

The male newborn pheasants are frequently born with drab coloring. They look more like the females at birth. But, after 2-3 months of age, they begin to grow into their varied colors. 

Sickness, molting, and other factors can also cause color changes. 

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About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


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