If it were only this easy: Zoo pheasant changes from female to male

Silver Pheasant’s sex change stuns zoo

In a rare and a first-of-its-kind phenomenon, a Silver Pheasant, a bird belonging to the peacock family, has changed its sex from female to a male.

Confirming this and terming it a kind of “sex dimorphism”, zoo director Renu Singh told IANS that the phenomenon had surprised most of the staff in the zoo.

The change was noticed by her some time back when she found the female in the bird enclosure shed not only her diminutive shape and size but also change her dull brown colour to a more vibrant colour of a male, which is often used by the polygamous male to win over female species.

The female has also stopped laying eggs and has undergone all “phenotypic changes” though from a distance there seem to be no changes anatomically, Renu Singh said.

Tip: Fortean Times

This took place at the Lucknow zoo in India and officials are consulting experts to study the event, called “one of a kind”.

The bird is native to South-western China, eastern Burma, southern Vietnam, southwestern Cambodia, southeastern Thailand, northern Laos and the island of Hainan. But also common in aviaries. This is curious since it appears such as change has not been documented before.

In some animals, sex changes often occur due to environmental stresses. If this turns out to be a genuine natural change in sex, it would be very interesting to know why it occurred in this case while another male was present. I suspect that the bird may have to die first for it’s internal organs to be examined. So, we may have to wait. But…yeah… nature. Funny stuff.

Why do some species change sex?

Why don’t more animals change their sex?


  1 comment for “If it were only this easy: Zoo pheasant changes from female to male

  1. Massachusetts
    April 16, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    I never knew this could happen in birds. I’ve heard about it in fish, and maybe amphibians (jurassic park does come to mind as well.) If verified this would be very interesting.

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