Siamese fireback (Lophura diardi)

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Male Siamese fireback
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Siamese fireback fact file

Siamese fireback description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderGalliformes
FamilyPhasianidae
GenusLophura (1)

The striking male Siamese fireback is most notable for its unusually long crest of purple-black feathers, which reaches up to 9 cm in length and becomes erect when the bird is excited (2) (3). The breast, neck and upper back are mostly grey with very fine vermiculations, and the belly and head are black with the head decorated with large scarlet-red facial wattles (2) (3). The name ‘fireback’ refers to the yellow plumage in the middle of the back, a feature shared with other firebacks (3). However, this species can be distinguished by its characteristic pattern of metallic blue with coppery-crimson fringes on the lower back, together with its red legs and long, curved tail, which is black with a metallic blue-green sheen (3) (4). The female is also quite distinct from other Lophura hens, most noticeably in having black upper wing and central tail feathers, boldly barred with buffy-white (4). The plumage is otherwise mostly bright chestnut-red and the head is greyish-brown with smaller red facial wattles than the male and no visible crest (2) (3).

Also known as
Diard’s fireback.
Synonyms
Diardigallus diardi, Euplocomus diardi.
Size
Male length: c. 80 cm (2)
Male tail length: 33 – 36 cm (2)
Female length: c. 60 cm (2)
Female tail length: 22 – 26 cm (2)
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Siamese fireback biology

The Siamese fireback is thought to be omnivorous, feeding on an array of fallen fruits and berries, as well as insects, worms and small land-crabs (4).

Little information is available on the breeding behaviour of this shy bird in the wild, other than that eggs have been collected between mid-April and late June, and that one nest was situated on the ground in a hollow at the base of a tree. Clutches seem to contain between four and eight eggs, and are incubated for 24 to 25 days in captivity (4). Males attain adult plumage in their first year but do not typically breed until their third (3). Like other Lophura pheasants, males of this species perform courtship displays in which they whistle and whirr their wings (2).

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Siamese fireback range

Found in Southeast Asia, from east Myanmar, through north, central and east Thailand, central and south Laos, north and central Cambodia to central Vietnam (4).

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Siamese fireback habitat

A lowland resident of evergreen, semi-evergreen and bamboo forest, second-growth and scrub, often seen near open patches such as roads and tracks through the forest. Chiefly found below 500 m above sea level, but occasionally up to 800 m, and perhaps even 1,150 m (4) (5). The Siamese fireback appears to tolerate some degradation of its forest habitat, such as moderate logging and cultivated fields in small clearings (5) (6).

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Siamese fireback status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Siamese fireback threats

The Siamese fireback is threatened by habitat loss and overexploitation for food and sport (4). Although this pheasant seems to tolerate considerable degradation of its forest habitat, extensive lowland forest destruction within its range is a concern for this lowland specialist (4) (5). Numbers have greatly declined during the past half century and its range has contracted, partly due to habitat changes, but probably more markedly due to excessive hunting and snaring (5) (6).

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Siamese fireback conservation

The Siamese fireback is currently known to occur in just two protected areas, Nam Bai Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam and Xe Pian National Protected Area in Laos (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more information on the Siamese fireback see:

  • del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World - New World Vultures To Guineafowl. Vol. 2. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Omnivore
An organism that feeds on both plants and animals.
Vermiculations
Wormlike; often used to describe fine, wavy lines of colour on bird feathers.
Wattle
Bare fleshy skin that hangs from the bill, throat or eye of birds.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2006)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Delacour, J. (1951) The Pheasants of the World. Country Life Ltd., London.
  3. gbwf.org: Dedicated to the Aviculture and Conservation of the World’s Galliformes (August, 2006)
    http://www.gbwf.org/pheasants/diardi.html
  4. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World - New World Vultures To Guineafowl. Vol. 2. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  5. BirdLife International (August, 2006)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=260&m=0
  6. Zoological Museum of the University of Amsterdam (ZMA) (August, 2006)
    http://ip30.eti.uva.nl/zma3d/detail.php?id=129&sort=taxon&type=family
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Image credit

Male Siamese fireback  
Male Siamese fireback

© Terry Whittaker / www.flpa-images.co.uk

FLPA - images of nature
Pages Green House
Wetheringsett
Stowmarket
Suffolk IP14 5QA
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1728 861 113
Fax: +44 (0) 1728 860 222
pictures@flpa-images.co.uk
http://www.flpa-images.co.uk

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