Bulwer's Pheasant (Lophura bulweri) is also known as Bulwer's Wattled Pheasant, the Wattled Pheasant, or the White-tailed Wattled Pheasant. It is a Southeast Asian bird in the Phasianidae family; endemic to the forests of Borneo. The species is currently listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species..
Bulwer's Pheasant is sexually dimorphic. Males (c.80 cm) are black-plumaged with a maroon breast, crimson legs, a pure white tail of long, curved feathers, and bright blue facial skin with two wattles that conceal the sides of its head. Females (c.55 cm) are an overall dull brown colour with red legs and blue facial skin. It was named after Sir Henry Ernest Gascoyne Bulwer, Governor of Labuan 1871-1875, who presented the type specimen to the British Museum.
Distribution and Habitat
The Bulwer's Pheasant is endemic to the island of Borneo. While the species is locally common in protected areas (e.g. Kayan Mentarang National Park, Kalimantan) it is rarely found elsewhere. The bird inhabits Montane tropical forest, likely preferring highland rainforests and rarely visiting the lowlands. The diet consists mainly of fruits, worms, and insects.
Bulwer's Pheasant is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to a rapidly declining population. The primary reasons for this decline are habitat loss and fragmentation due to commercial logging and forest fires. Local hunting is also thought to undermine the birds population. Further, captive breeding programs aimed at preserving the species have met with little success.
This species is very rarely kept in zoos. The only western zoo to currently house the species is San Diego which keeps a pair of these birds. Walsrdoe bird park in Germany have kept the birds as recently as 2003, and Antwerp, Belgium, have bred the birds. Antwerp has been very successful with many of the lophura genus.
Bulwer's pheasant belongs to the order Galliformes, in the Phasianidae family. The family name Lophura is derived from the Greek word lophos for ridge, crest or tuft. The species name bulweri was named after the English naturalist James Bulwer.