March 2, 2020
A Bird Worth Getting to Know
- as seen by -Natalia Hook
What animals spring to mind when you hear the word “vulnerable?” Perhaps the beautiful Amur tiger, or the impressive Indian rhino? Both of these species are still in existence thanks to conservation efforts by numerous agencies including the Wildlife Conservation Society. The protection of habitat is crucial in the preservation of any threatened species, including less well known, but equally fascinating animals, such as the Swinhoe’s pheasant (Lophura swinholi)—a bird worth getting to know.
The deep blue plumage of the males is quite stunning, perfectly complemented by crests, back patches, and long tail feathers of stark white. Handsome faces with bright, red wattles make these fellows the complete package in the looks department. Females are built for nesting, with speckled brown bodies suited to camouflage them as they incubate eggs. They sport lovely, dark red skin patches around the eyes, creating a masked appearance.
Swinhoe’s pheasants have a fairly small range. They are native only to the mountainous region of central Taiwan, and faced dwindling numbers due to hunting and habitat loss. The establishment of protected reserves and national parks brought the species back from vulnerable to near-threatened status. According to IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, there are over 3,000 mature individuals as of August 2019. Hunting and logging outside the conservation areas still pose threats to the stability of the wild population.
One thing you can do to help combat logging related deforestation is to purchase wood products wisely. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label, or better yet, buy used or salvaged furniture and lumber. Protecting habitat is one of the best ways to work towards a future in which, when we hear the word “vulnerable,” no animals will come to mind.