Vulnerable Has a highly restricted range in dense damp lowland evergreen forest with a closed canopy and an ample undergrowth of palm scrub and bamboo in the Quang Tri, Thua Tien, and Quang Binh areas of C Annam (C Vietnam). Much of this area is now almost completely deforested, and an estimated 100-1000 birds survive in scattered remnant patches of forest, while c. 1000 are registered in a captive breeding program. The subspecies hatinhensis, similar to nominate edwardsii but with white central tail-feathers instead of an all-black tail, occurs in the Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces, where also much of the original forest cover is removed, with heavy human pressure on the remaining fragments, even in reserves; less than 2500 birds survive in the wild, while the captive population is very small.
Items in the ZMA - 1 bird:
ZMA 35195 Adult male, died 6 Jun 1982 in the Amsterdam Zoo, born 1964, skin.
The ZMA bird is nominate edwardsii, with a black tail; the amount of white in the crest of our bird is limited, tending towards the black-crested Imperial Pheasant L. imperialis, another pheasant from C Annam. However, the wing-coverts are fringed glossy green, as in L. edwardsii, not purple-blue as in L. imperialis. The subspecies edwardsii and hatinhensis differ only in the colour of the central tail-feathers; sometimes they are considered to be separate species, but, though they are genetically closely related, the difference in DNA is just sufficient to consider them a subspecies (Hennache et al. 1999).
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