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Copper Pheasant Syrmaticus soemmerringii
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This beautiful pheasant has been subject to excessive sport hunting, which, although now regulated, may still be having a significant impact. Predation by feral cats and dogs, as well as habitat degradation, are other likely threats. It is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline and is consequently categorised as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Syrmaticus soemmerringi Collar and Andrew (1988)

Distribution and population
Syrmaticus soemmerringii is found on the islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu in Japan. It was once very common, but it appears to have declined substantially because of large-scale hunting and is now considered to be uncommon and difficult to find. During the 1970s, the number of birds shot by hunters declined rapidly from c.800,000 to c.300,000 per year, but appeared to stabilise at c.100,000 per year during the 1990s.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as uncommon (Madge and McGowan 2002).

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining at a moderately rapid rate, probably owing to hunting, introduced predators and habitat loss.

It is found in coniferous, broadleaved and mixed forest from sea-level to 1,800 m.

The initial, and perhaps the current, decline was due to hunting; however, the shooting of females has been illegal since 1976. In addition to the effects of hunting and habitat loss, feral cats and dogs may be causing a reduction in breeding success, and hybridisation (of the five subspecies) between wild and captive-reared stock may also be a problem.

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to establish the status of all of the subspecies. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites. Regulate sport hunting to ensure that it is made sustainable. Protect large areas of forest in areas where it occurs. Prevent hybridisation by the regulation of releases. Research the effects of feral introduced predators.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Madge, S.; McGowan, P. 2002. Pheasants, partridges and grouse: including buttonquails, sandgrouse and allies. Christopher Helm, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Taylor, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Syrmaticus soemmerringii. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Copper pheasant (Syrmaticus soemmerringii) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Phasianidae (Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse)
Species name author (Temminck, 1830)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 175,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species