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Wedge-tailed pheasants, or Pucrasia coclases

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Wedge-tailed pheasants, or coclases, are represented by several well-isolated subspecies. They have a crest on their heads made of narrow elongated feathers, which rises during the current, there are no empty spots on the cheeks and around the eyes. Most of the plumage of the upper body in both sexes consists of lanceolate feathers. The tail is flat, stepped, the middle tail feathers are twice as long as the outer tail feathers 16. The beak is black, on the legs of the spur. The length of the male is 58-64, the tail is 23-24 cm, the females are respectively 58-64 and 23-24 cm.

Wedge-tailed pheasants are common from Afghanistan to Middle Nepal and east to East and North Black China. They inhabit mountain forests and slopes overgrown with shrubs, to an altitude of 1200-4200 m above sea level. At the boundaries of the ranges of subspecies, hybrid populations are formed between them, which are often described as new races, which leads to great confusion in the taxonomy.

In captivity they often contain pucrasian pheasant (Pucrasia macrolophus macrolopha). His head and throat are black with a green metallic tint, in the ear region there is a large ovoid white spot, the front of the neck and chest are chestnut-brown, the crest is blackish-green on the side, and yellow-brown in the middle. The plumage of the upper side of the trunk is ash-gray with wide blackish marks, the belly is chestnut-brown with whitish marks. The tail is reddish-brown with black transverse stripes and whitish rims at the ends. The female has a black top with rusty-brown spots with a dark border, a crest gray with ashen strokes on the stem. The throat is whitish with black marks. The back is dark brown with yellowish brown mottling. The middle tail feathers are dark brown with reddish-brown transverse stripes and yellowish tips, the exterior is the same color, but with reddish-black spots.

Wedge-tailed pheasants usually keep in small groups, never forming large swarms. When searching for food, they quietly cluck, but during the appearance of danger, a quickly repeating cry of "cook-cookie" is emitted. During the current, the males scream loudly and very sharply, ruffle the feathers in the ear area, then raise the crest of their side feathers up and forward, run to the females and jump in front of them to a height of 1 m. The current period begins depending on the terrain from April - June and ends in July. A bird's nest is usually arranged among placers of stones under a bush or overhanging stone. The nest tray is covered with foliage. Both parents take part in raising the chicks. Young birds acquire an outfit of adults at the end of the first year of life.

V-tail pheasants spend the night on trees. After the breeding season they behave secretly, frightened, take off with noise, fly swiftly and emit a rude alarm signal during the flight.

Wedge-tailed pheasants are difficult to tolerate acclimatization in Europe, as they are very sensitive to high humidity. In a dry and cool climate they feel good. These birds are kept only in pairs in a separate enclosure with a small number of bushes and grass. The female per season can lay up to 25 eggs, which she incubates and drives pheasant herself. When hatching in an incubator, the same regimen is used as when hatching an ordinary pheasant. Raising chicks is relatively easy.

Adult birds are fed mainly with greens: lettuce, wheat seedlings, yarrow, nettle, etc. with the addition of a grain mixture or compound feed used to feed domestic chickens. Young growth is fed with the same feeds as young growth of other pheasants.

Pheasant: keeping and breeding. A.I. Rakhmanov, B.F. Bessarabov

Appearance and distribution

Wedge-tailed pheasants, or coclases (Pucrasia) occupy an intermediate place in the taxonomy between tragopans and monals, but scientists believe that they are closer to tragopans. Wedge-tailed pheasants are widespread from Afghanistan to Middle Nepal and east to East and North China. They inhabit mountain forests and slopes overgrown with shrubs, to an altitude of 1200-4200 m above sea level. These pheasants have a crest on their heads made of narrow elongated feathers, which rises during the current. Most of the plumage of their upper body in both sexes consists of lanceolate feathers, their tail is flat, stepped, the middle tail feathers are twice as long as the outer ones. The beak of these pheasants is black, on the legs of a spur. The length of the body in Koklas reaches 58-64 cm, with a tail length of 23-24 cm.

Koklas (Pucrasia macrolopha), or V-tail pheasant is found in Afghanistan, western Nepal, Tibet, Pakistan and China. These pheasants inhabit mountainous forested slopes at an altitude of 1200-4200 m above sea level. During seasonal migrations, birds descend for wintering at altitudes of about 2200-2500 m, and sometimes up to 600 m above sea level. The habitat of the crested pheasant is coniferous and mixed forests with dense undergrowth of bamboo, rhododendron and other shrubs. The genus is represented by one species, which in turn has 9 (and according to other sources, more) subspecies that are geographically isolated from each other.

Lifestyle & Nutrition

In nature, cocloses are usually kept in small groups, never forming large flocks. V-tail pheasants spend the night on trees. After a breeding season they lead a secretive life, they are frightened, take off with noise, fly swiftly and emit a rude alarm during the flight. The daytime movements of these birds are usually insignificant and, like most other pheasants, these birds can be found in the same place in the morning, afternoon and evening. Usually these are open glades with a small amount of shrub where they seek food and can hide in case of danger.

The Chinese name for this species, "Sena-chi", which means pine chicken, apparently refers to the favorite habitat of the koklas - pine forests. The diet of this species includes both animal feed: cereals, grass seeds, acorns, berries and buds and inflorescences, and animal feed: various types of insects, mollusks and worms. In addition, it was found that these pheasants feed on pine needles.

Social Behavior and Reproduction

The birds are monogamous, and obviously remain in pairs for most of the year. The current period begins depending on the terrain from April - June and ends in July. In India, the period of reproduction of coclax lasts from April to June. Most nests are built at the base of dense evergreen shrubs growing on hillsides in coniferous forests. Nests are sometimes hidden among ferns, but can also be located in rose hips, raspberries, or other thorny bushes, but are always well hidden from view. Sometimes the nest is located between the roots of the tree, in such cases, access to the nest is through the hole between the roots, and such a nest is difficult to see even from close range. The presence of dense vegetation and, possibly, the proximity of water, are obviously the main criteria for choosing places for nesting of this species. The average number of eggs in a clutch is 5-6, but nests with 8-9 eggs are also registered. Females incubate masonry, males are always nearby, the incubation period usually takes 26-27 days. After the hatching of the chicks, the males are directly involved in the upbringing of the offspring. The chickens of coclass are born independent and after a few days can already re-cook. Koklas maturity occurs during the first year, and, probably, young males already participate in breeding in the spring of next year.

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