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Posts Tagged ‘common pheasant’

Here’s a good video of German hunters going after hares and pheasants with an assortment of dogs, including Drahthaars and Kurzhaars as well as at least one Langhaar and a wire-haired teckel.

There is a lot of ceremony involved in German hunting traditions, but I particularly enjoy the dog that howls along with the horns at the end.

 

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A pretty amazing painting by Scot Storm:

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This bird is a melanistic common or ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus). This is a hen pheasant.

She’s much darker brown and has more black on her plumage than a typical hen of this species. She’s not really as black as one might expect a melanistic animal to be.

A typical hen pheasant for comparison.

The cock melanistic pheasants are really black.  Well, they are black in that their whole bodies are the same color as a typical cock pheasant’s head– black with a greenish sheen.

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Painting by Dean Wolstenholme the Elder:

This dog is a good example of a purpose-bred mongrel retriever that lies at the base of every one of these breeds we call “retrievers” today.

It could have had anything in its ancestry. Collie or collie-type, St. John’s water dog, setter, some sort of water spaniel could all be in there. Even terrier or greyhound are possibilities.

This dog reminds me of  Portuguese water dog with the “improper coat” or possibly a wetterhoun with a lighter build. Both of those dogs would fit this animal’s description. My guess is the dog got this tail from some English water spaniel strain that happened to have it– for it may be that the curled tail might be a distinguishing trait of the old water dog landrace.

This dog should not be called a flat-coated retriever, a wavy-coated retriever, a curly-coated retriever, or a Labrador. Those dogs, as we came to eventually know them, were established from the time period from the 1850’s to about 1900. Modern Labradors really don’t start to develop in their current form until the 1880’s, which is about the same time that the wavy-coat began its transformation into the modern flat-coat.

This dog is none of those things. It is an early purpose-bred mongrel retriever.

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The pheasant the dog is retrieving is also of interest. It does not have the exact same coloration as a Caucasus-type common pheasant, which was of the type that was originally introduced to the British Isle.

Let me make some things clear. The common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) is a widespread species of pheasant that originally ranged from Georgia to China and as far south as Pakistan and Vietnam.  In the Caucasus type, the cockbirds have no ring on their necks. In the East Asian subspecies, the cockbirds have this ring– and are called ring-necked Pheasant. The cocks in Central and South Asian subspecies have white wings, and those in the Mongolian subspecies have both white wings and a white ring around their necks.

I think it is a white-winged type of common pheasant– either a purebred or one that has been mixed with more common “native” English stock.

Bianchi's pheasant is type of white-winged common pheasant that is native to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 The type of white-winged common pheasant found in Afghanistan or Pakistan is called Bianchi’s pheasant, and these would have worked their way into England via trade with the East India Company.

This particular bird would have been just what a shooting nobleman would want to have on his estate. “Look at this exotic thing from India! We’re shooting it! Aren’t we cool?”

It would have been a symbol of personal and national prestige– especially when one realizes its from relative early date. This was during the days in which the East India Company ran India (including what are now Bangladesh and Pakistan). The British Crown had not officially claimed India, as it would eventually do in 1858– following the Indian Mutiny.  India was actually run  by private corporation with  private armies (Blackwater wasn’t the first to come up with this idea.) If this is a Bianchi’s or mongrel Bianchi’s, this painting would have been an early flaunting of British prestige in India.

I guess we’ll never know the full identity of the pheasant. We’d be much more likely to find out about the dog’s identity than that of the bird.

So both animals in this painting have rather interesting aspects.

An early purpose-bred mongrel retriever fetching a Bianchi’s pheasant. Amazing!

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These two species are actually quite closely related, so it would make sense that the males would fight each other. Of course, the body language is a bit different, and the rooster has the ability to make displays the cock pheasant cannot.

There are actual hybrids between ring-necked pheasants and domestic fowl, so maybe this rooster had something to worry about.

I don’t think these hybrids occur unless chickens and pheasants are raised together, so I wouldn’t worry about wild pheasants breeding with your hens.

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This is what they normally look like:

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There are many different subspecies of Phasianus colchicus. The East Asian and some of Central Asian races tend to have rings around their necks.

The Caucasian races were the first introduced to Western Europe, and in Europe, it is not uncommon to find common pheasants roosters that lack rings around their necks.

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One Tame Pheasant!

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These birds, even if raised in captivity, are normally so wild and nervous that you can never get close to them.

This is one strange bird.

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