The Green Pheasant is Japan’s National Bird. I did not know that until now.
It is an omnivorous bird, endemic to Japan.
The bird featured in these photos is the “resident pheasant’ behind my house. It is a colorful male bird and I enjoy watching almost every day from my window.
Here in the Kumano area, these birds can be seen roaming around in unattended meadows and abandoned paddy fields.
I live in Kumano and bird-watching near my home has become a recent interest as traveling is restricted now. I enjoy looking at scenes of nature, and I find watching flowers and birds very calming and relaxing.
Truth to be told, finally there is time to engage in such activities, which gives me a chance to study the flora and fauna of Kumano. When I am walking the Kumano Kodo trails with visitors, I am often asked about wildlife, trees, flowers and herbs.
Out of interest I looked up green pheasant and I found an interesting article, written by Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado as published in Fujingaho Magazine in March this year. Thankfully, the article got translated and was published by BirdLife International (Asia). I found it a very interesting read.
The article states that the Green Pheasant was mentioned in Japan’s oldest history books, in both the Nihonshoki and the Kojiki, both published in the 8th century! The bird was even mentioned in the Manyoshu, an ancient collection of poems also dating back to the 8th century.
The pheasant also features in the Japanese folk tale of Momotaro, the Peach Boy. A pheasant, together with a dog and a monkey, become Momotaro’s friends and help him in his quest against evil.
Did you know that pheasants came originally from Greece, from an area near the Phasis River. This is apparently where the name pheasant comes from.
Pheasants are relatives of the chicken, turkey, grouse and quail. While the former are domesticated, the later are game birds. Having said that, pheasants are now also domesticated. To see a wild bird close up is quite rare these days.