We went on a field trip yesterday to one of our favourite spots in New Zealand. It is Willowbank Wildlife Reserve where native animals are displayed and allowed to explore bountiful and lush natural habitats. We frequent this location and are currently using it as a researching grounds for my 9 year old's science project. We spotted this gorgeous Male Golden Pheasant in the brush and it came right up to us to eat the bird food the park provides for you to purchase. Now this is a reserve so these animals know the drill and who is feeding them but we were truly impressed. We are not natives to this land where birds of all shapes sizes and colors abound. He was breathtaking really and posed accordingly. A few native New Zealanders were hardly as impressed. They are used to birds with vivid markings. Magpies that look ancient and Kea's with bright orange markings.
There was, however, quite a bit of debate on what kind of animal this was and even speculation that dyes had been used. A pheasant or perhaps a peacock? The boys said a rooster. Good guess. It did bring up memories of old British paintings of pheasant hunting that I had studied but never had I seen one with such vibrancy or in person. No more questions. I called the offices and spoke with an animal specialist who informed me that it was, in fact, a pheasant.