Brown Eared Pheasant, is it delicious?

That was the solid question raised to me when I showed the photo to my colleagues. On a serious note, you can sense the awareness for a bird rich country and the potential danger for several thousand birds migrate through this vast region where the people have a delicacy for “wild” meat.

Brown Eared Pheasant (Crossoptilon mantchuricum)

褐马鸡 (Hè mǎ jī)

Brown Eared Pheasant is a gorgeous bird endemic to North-central china. This bird was once among the harder check list until a recent flock was constantly visiting, roosting at a temple in Shanxi province.

Xuanzhong temple is one of the birthplaces of PureLand sect and it has a very long and important place in Chinese Buddhism. However, the temple hardly had two visitors on a weekend. 50+ photographers on a -20ºC day was a different story.

Since, I’m a budget birder, used the public bus from Taiyuan to JiaochengCounty(30RMB) and then hired a taxi to the temple. For a one way ride, it cost 35RMB.

Stayed at Sanli hotel (Xinkai Road, Ph: 0358-3535898). They have clean n big standard rooms with hot water for 108 RMB/day. The most important thing, they have the license for accommodating foreigners. There is an authentic Shanxi food available next door. Their lamb soup and bread are awesome before starting the trip and finishing the cold day.

The Xuanzhong temple is part of the Jiaocheng Moutain National Forest Park. It was said that the pheasants in the temple were fed by the monks. The discussion in birdforum is below.

But now, the pheasants are fed with dry corns by the photographers.Due to the heavy snow in the JiaochengCounty, the 6 pheasants roosted on the ridge connecting the mountain and the temple area. Due to the large no of photographers, the pheasants flew over the mountains and came back by afternoon everyday.

BirdLife International states that the species status is vulnerable due to the isolated and declining population outside the nature reserves.Brown-eared pheasants are easily seen at this place. Hope they have a successful breeding this season and I’m looking forward to see few additions to their population at this site.

Trip cost -1500 RMB/person for a weekend, Brown-eared Pheasant – priceless!

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