Phasianus colchicus
(Ring-necked Pheasant)

Order: Galliformes
Order Description: Pheasant, Grouse, Turkey, Quail
Family: Phasianidae
Family Description: Pheasant, Grouse, Turkey, Quail

Physical Description:
30-36" (75-91 cm). Male: IridescentClick word for definition greenish-black head with red facial patches and wattles and two feathered tufts; pinkish gray bill hooks at the end; white, incomplete neck ring; long, pointed tail. Body deep tawnyClick word for definition-chestnut with blue-black belly and rich golden, mottled flanksClick word for definition. Immatures and females: primarily buffClick word for definition, mottled with brown and black.

Similar Species- Sharp-tailed Grouse

Explosive double squawk: Kork-kok

Native to Asia. Introduced and established in North America from southern Canada, south locally to California, Utah, sothern New Mexico, southeastern Texas, northwestern Oklahoma, southern Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.

Found in open country -- especially cultivated areas, scrubby wastes, open woodlands, and edges of woods, but also in shrub steppeClick word for definition, riverside thickets, swamps, and open mountain forests.

Eats waste corn, wheat barley, oats, buckwheat, berries, and seeds of ragweed, burdocks, and pine. In spring, eats green vegetatioin. Will also eat some insects, mice, and snails.

Nests in depression in grass or weeds. Forages on ground. roostsClick word for definition in trees. Usually ranges over no more than 2-3 km. In fall, family groups may join and form flocksClick word for definition of 30-40 birds; flocks break up in spring. Populations in Idaho thought to be declining due to winter habitat loss. Idaho study showed pheasants preferred sagebrush, wetland, and herbaceousClick word for definition cover types in winter, and avoided grassland and agricultural areas. Livestock grazing decreased pheasant use of sagebrush. In 1994 the Idaho Dept. Fish & Game initiated research on pheasant response to intensive habitat management, predator management, and the effects of pesticides on pheasants.

Usually 10-12, but sometimes 5-23, eggs are laid in 1 nest. Two hens may lay eggs in same nest. Incubation lasts 23-25 days. Nestlings are precocialClick word for definition and downy; young are tended by female.

Element Code: ABNLC07010
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SE
National Rank: NE5

Important State References:
Leptich, D.J. 1992. Winter habitat use by hen pheasants in southern Idaho. J. Wildl. Manage. 56:367-380.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.