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Discovering the Unique Behaviors of the Bulwer’s Pheasant: Foraging Vocalizations and Breeding Patterns

The Bulwer’s Pheasant, scientifically known as Lophura bulweri, is a unique and stunning bird species that belongs to the Phasianidae family. This bird is named after Sir Henry Ernest Bulwer, a British diplomat and naturalist who discovered this species on his trip to Borneo in 1878.

In this article, we will discuss the identification, plumages, and molts of the Bulwer’s Pheasant.




Bulwer’s Pheasant is a medium-sized bird with a length of 60-75 cm and a weight of about 1.2-1.3 kg. This bird has a blackish-brown plumage with a shiny greenish-purple sheen on the neck and upper back.

The wings are short and rounded. The tail is long, stiff, and pointed.

The male and female birds differ slightly in their appearance. The male has a bright reddish-orange plumage on the face, forehead, and throat, while the female has a paler coloration.

Similar Species:

Bulwer’s Pheasant can be easily confused with several other pheasant species, such as the Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), the Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus humiae), and the Malayan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron malacense).

However, these species have distinct differences in their plumage, size, and range.


Bulwer’s Pheasant has three distinct plumages: juvenile, female, and male. Juvenile Plumage:

The juvenile birds have a brownish-black plumage with white spots on the wings.

They have a short tail and lack the bright coloration of the adult male. Female Plumage:

The female birds have a duller coloration than the male.

They have a blackish-brown plumage with white spots on the wings. They have a shorter tail and lack the bright reddish-orange coloration of the male.

Male Plumage:

The male birds have a glossy blackish-brown plumage with a red-golden sheen on the upper back and neck. They have a bright reddish-orange plumage on the face, forehead, and throat.

The upper tail coverts are bronze-green, and the tail is long and pointed.


Bulwer’s Pheasant undergoes two molts per year: the pre-basic molt and the pre-alternate molt. Pre-Basic Molt:

This molt occurs between May and August, when the bird sheds its old feathers and grows new ones for the next season.

During this molt, the bird’s plumage becomes duller, as it loses its bright coloration. Pre-Alternate Molt:

This molt occurs between November and December, when the bird replaces its duller feathers with brighter ones for the breeding season.

The male’s plumage becomes brighter and more vivid during this time, as he prepares himself for courtship displays. In conclusion, the Bulwer’s Pheasant is a fascinating bird species with unique identification features, distinct plumages, and molting patterns.

By understanding the characteristics of this bird, we can appreciate its beauty and importance in the ecosystem. The Bulwers Pheasant, also known as Lophura bulweri, is a fascinating bird species with a rich history of systematics that has evolved over the years.

In this article, we will delve into the systematic history of the Bulwers Pheasant, discussing its geographic variation, subspecies, related species, and historical changes to its distribution. Systematics History:

The systematics history of the Bulwers Pheasant has undergone significant changes over the years since its discovery in 1878 by Sir Henry Ernest Bulwer.

Initially, it was placed in the genus Euplocomus, but in 1913, the bird was reclassified into its current genus, Lophura. Since then, the bird has undergone further analysis by scientists, revealing more about its systematics.

Geographic Variation:

The geographic variation of the Bulwers Pheasant has been extensively studied by ornithologists. The bird is native to Southeast Asia and is found in countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, with an estimated population of fewer than 50,000 individuals.

The bird is usually found near the dense tropical forests region. Subspecies:

Several subspecies of the Bulwers Pheasant have also been identified over the years, with some currently recognized and some yet to be validated.

These subspecies are mostly differentiated by the coloration of their plumage. – Lophura bulweri bulweri: This subspecies is found in Sabah, North Borneo, and is the nominate subspecies.

– Lophura bulweri everetti: This subspecies is found in northern Borneo and is darker than the nominate subspecies. – Lophura bulweri cortesi: This subspecies is known from only two specimens from central Borneo, with lighter and more bronzy plumage.

Other subspecies that have been proposed but not yet validated include: L. b.

sharpei (found in southern Borneo), L. b.

taprobanica (found in Sri Lanka), and L. b.

borneensis (found in Borneo). Related Species:

The Bulwers Pheasant belongs to the Phasianidae family and is closely related to other pheasant species such as the Silver Pheasant, the Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, and the Mrs.

Hume’s Pheasant. These birds share many characteristics, including their size, shape, and behavior.

Historical Changes to Distribution:

The historical distribution of the Bulwers Pheasant has undergone significant changes over the years. The bird was initially found in Borneo, but its range has expanded to other Southeast Asian countries such as Brunei and Indonesia.

However, the distribution of the Bulwers Pheasant has been negatively impacted by habitat loss due to logging, forest fires, and agricultural expansion. The bird now faces a high risk of habitat loss and is listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Conservation efforts such as reforestation initiatives and conservation breeding programs have been implemented to protect the Bulwers Pheasant and ensure its survival. The establishment of protected areas, such as national parks, has also provided the bird with a safe habitat to thrive in.

In conclusion, the Bulwers Pheasant is a fascinating bird species with a rich systematics history that has undergone significant changes over the years. Its geographic variation, subspecies, related species, and historical distribution changes provide ornithologists with the opportunity to study and understand more about this unique bird species.

However, with its population currently in decline, conservation efforts are necessary to ensure its survival for future generations to enjoy. The Bulwers Pheasant, scientifically known as Lophura bulweri, is a predominantly forest-dwelling bird species, with specific habitat requirements.

In this article, we will discuss the habitat requirements of the Bulwers Pheasant, its movements, and migration patterns. Habitat:

The Bulwers Pheasant inhabits tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests with dense undergrowth and thick vegetation.

This bird species is found in primary, secondary, and degraded forests, as well as in plantations and edge habitats. The Bulwers Pheasant feeds on a variety of foods, including seeds, insects, fruits, and leaves.

These birds are ground foragers and prefer to feed on the forest floor. They have strong scratching ability and will dig up leaf litter in search of food.

Movements and Migration:

The movements and migration patterns of the Bulwers Pheasant are not well-documented due to limited research on the bird. However, like other pheasant species, the Bulwers Pheasant is generally considered a resident bird, with most birds staying in their home range throughout the year.

Some movement has been observed, especially by juvenile birds or during breeding season. Breeding:

Breeding season among Bulwers Pheasants in the wild is not well known.

In captivity, Bulwers Pheasants have been known to start breeding around two years of age. The females lay around six to seven eggs, with incubation lasting for about 24 days.

The hatchlings are covered in dark-colored down and are able to leave the nest and forage for food immediately after hatching. Migration:

As mentioned before, the Bulwers Pheasant is considered a resident bird, with most individuals staying in their home range throughout the year, particularly in Borneo where they are native.

However, some juveniles and individuals may occasionally disperse from their home range in search of new territories or suitable breeding partners. The Bulwers Pheasant is not known to undergo long-distance migrations.

However, there has been some evidence suggesting that individuals may leave their current range temporarily in search of better food resources. Threats to Habitat and Migration Patterns:

The Bulwers Pheasant faces many serious threats from human activity.

Habitat loss due to deforestation, logging, and agricultural activities are the biggest threats to the species. Deforestation has impacted the breeding success of the Bulwers Pheasant, as it mainly relies on primary and secondary forests for its breeding grounds.

Clear cutting for agriculture, mining, and oil palm cultivation have caused a rapid reduction in the appropriate habitat for this species. Overhunting for its feathers and meat also plays a role in the decline of this species.

The Bulwers Pheasant habitat fragmentation also poses a threat as it can reduce gene flow between populations, causing genetic isolation; this could, over time, change the birds migratory and social behaviors, making it harder for the bird to survive and adapt to an ever-changing environment. Conservation Efforts:

Efforts have been made to conserve the Bulwers Pheasant and its habitat.

National Parks in Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia have been established to protect the pheasant and its habitat. Additionally, there have been efforts to encourage reforestation and sustainable use of forest resources.

The captive breeding of Bulwers Pheasant has also been done as part of conservation efforts to restore populations that have been decimated by habitat loss and hunting. In conclusion, the Bulwers Pheasant requires specific habitats for foraging and breeding, mostly located in tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests.

Its movements and migrations are not well-documented but seem to be limited, with most individuals remaining within their home range. Habitat loss and fragmentation pose the most considerable threats to the conservation of this endangered species, and conservation efforts such as habitat restoration, captive breeding, and wildlife protection need to be maintained and expanded to save the species from further decline.

The Bulwer’s Pheasant, scientifically known as Lophura bulweri, is a beautiful bird with unique dietary requirements and vocal behavior. In this article, we will explore the diet and foraging behavior of the Bulwers Pheasant, including its feeding habits, diet, metabolism and temperature regulation.

We will also delve into the vocalizations of this intriguing bird species. Diet and Foraging:


Bulwers Pheasant is an omnivorous bird species that feeds on a variety of foods, including plants, insects, and other small animals.

They are ground foragers that spend most of their time on the forest floor, scratching the leaf litter and soil for food. They also forage on the lower branches of trees and the dense understory vegetation.


The Bulwers Pheasant diet is primarily herbivorous, and it feeds on a variety of plant materials including fruits, seeds, leaves, and flowers. Their fruit diet seems to be highly seasonal, including wild figs when they are available.

The birds also eat fungi, mollusks, worms, and small invertebrates when they come across them. Metabolism and Temperature Regulation:

The metabolism and temperature regulation of the Bulwers Pheasant have not been widely studied.

However, it is believed to have a relatively slow metabolism, which allows the bird to store energy efficiently in a relatively low-calorie diet. The thick feathering of the bird helps to maintain its body temperature in its humid forest habitat.

There may also be behavioural adaptations to facilitate thermoregulation, such as darkness use and avoiding open spaces during the day. Sounds and Vocal Behaviour:


The Bulwers Pheasant has a range of unique vocalizations that it uses to communicate with other birds, both for a range of social and territorial claims.

The male’s calls range from displays to alertness and can be heard from a long distance, particularly during the breeding season. The calls of this bird are an important way for individuals to locate one another, helping to maintain pair bonds and defend territories.

Breeding Season Calls:

During the breeding season, the male’s call is a distinctive and loud ‘boo-oo’ or ‘bullah.’ This call, which is often rapidly and repeatedly given, is used to attract the female to the male’s territory. The female responds by giving a series of high-pitched whistles and soft calls, which signals an interest in mating.

Alarm Calls:

The Bulwers Pheasant has several alarm calls that it uses to warn others about the presence of predators. These calls have different sounds depending on the type of threats, and help to alert other members of the group about danger.

Territorial Calls:

The territorial calls of the Bulwer’s Pheasant are sharp and loud, usually given in response to the challenge from another male. Territorial calls serve to communicate hierarchical positions and to establish territories’ boundaries.

In conclusion, the Bulwers Pheasant is an interesting bird species with complex foraging behavior and unique vocalizations. These birds are omnivorous, feeding on a wide range of foods found on the forest floor and in the dense understory vegetation.

The bird also has a distinctive range of vocalizations, including breeding season calls, alarm calls, and territorial calls, which help to communicate with other members of the species. Understanding the Bulwers Pheasant diet, foraging, and vocalizations can allow us to better appreciate the complex and nuanced lives that these birds lead in their unique natural habitats.

The Bulwer’s Pheasant, scientifically known as Lophura bulweri, is a unique bird species that displays a range of behaviors, including locomotion, self-maintenance, agonistic behavior, sexual behavior, breeding, and population dynamics. In this article, we will delve into these behaviors in detail.



The Bulwer’s Pheasant is mostly a ground-dwelling bird that spends most of its time in the forest floor scratching for food. However, they are known to be capable of short and low-flight when threatened.

Self Maintenance:

Like most bird species, the Bulwer’s Pheasant makes use of self-maintenance behaviors to keep its feathers clean and in good condition. They are known to preen their feathers regularly, using their bills to remove dirt, dust, and parasites from their plumage.

Agonistic Behavior:

The Bulwers Pheasant displays agonistic behavior, particularly during the breeding season when males compete for the attention of females. Agonistic displays among male birds include threatening behavior, such as neck-stretching and puffing up the chest feathers.

In extreme cases, male birds may engage in violent fights over territories, ditches, and females. Sexual Behavior:

Bulwers Pheasants are known to practice monogamous mating systems, with one male and one female forming a long-term pair bond.

The breeding season is usually before the onset of the rainy season, and males usually display territorial behavior to entice females. During courtship displays, males will puff their chest feathers and tail feathers, producing a distinct “wing washing” motion, as well as displaying a range of vocalizations.


Breeding Season:

The breeding season of the Bulwer’s Pheasant varies by location, but it is usually before or after the monsoon season in areas where they occur. During this time, it is common to see males engaging in territorial displays in which they flap their wings, open their tails, and call to attract females.

Males will then lead females to a small dirt depression, scratch, or ditch on the forest floor, where copulation occurs. Eggs and Nesting:

The female Bulwers Pheasant lays around six to seven eggs, usually in a small depression dug out of the litter on the ground.

The eggs are pale yellow and speckled with brown spots and take approximately 24 days to hatch. The hatchlings are precocial, leaving the nest shortly after hatching and are able to feed on their own within a short period.

Demography and Populations:

The Bulwer’s Pheasant population is declining due to human activities such as logging, forest fires, fragmentation of habitat, and hunting. In addition to these threats, the low reproductive potential of the species also makes it vulnerable to extinction.

Conservation organizations, governments, and communities living close to the natural habitats of the bird have started programs, focusing on habitat protection, increasing public awareness on the importance of the bird, and establishing captive breeding programs for this important species. In conclusion, the Bulwer’s Pheasant is an intriguing bird species that has several unique behavioral characteristics

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