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The Melanistic Mutant Pheasant is a naturally occurring colour variation of the common or ring-necked pheasant that was developed in England over 100 years ago. Melanistic mutant pheasants are a pure breed. They were cultivated in England as a specialty game bird, both for leisure hunting and for country ornament. Male Mutant pheasants feature an iridescent, greenish-black plumage that displays blue, purple, rust, and green sheen effects in the sunlight. Females are less colourful, and smaller in size, but have a depth of lacing like other hen species. Unlike albinism, where light or white colouring is produced by a lack of pigmentation, melanism is the production of excess pigmentation, resulting in animals that are wholly or partially black. However, unlike albinos, which often can’t survive easily in the wild, melanistic specimens of animals can often adapt and thrive.
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