Facts About Pheasants
The Ring-necked Pheasant
2000 Minnesota State Pheasant Habitat Stamp. Copywrite © by Scot Storm. Used with permission.
Peacock Pheasant, Chinese Pheasant, English Pheasant, Ring-neck, Common Pheasant
Average wt. male 3 lb (1.4 kg), female 2.5 lb (1.1 kg); Average length (bill to and including tail) male 31"-36" (79-91 cm), female 21"-25" (53-64 cm); Wing span male 32" (81 cm), female 24" (61 cm). The Ring-necked Pheasant is a large, chicken-like bird. It has a very long tail that can be over half its body length. The tail of the female is shorter than the male. When running the tail is carried at a 45 degree angle. It is a very fast runner, but can flap and glide long distances. When startled, it will burst straight into the air. Strangely, it has been observed landing in water and swimming to shore, but it cannot take off from water. The Ring-necked Pheasant is a very colorful bird with many iridescent feathers and different feather patterns over its body. The head and neck are dark-green, blue or purple with a white ring on its neck. It also has two feathered tufts over its ears that it lifts when alarmed. Its cheeks and eyes have a bright-red featherless patch of bare skin. The body has many colors of chestnut-brown, bronzy to reddish-brown feathers. The breast and belly are blue-black, its flanks are a lighter, mottled brown. The tail is a light-brown with black barring. The back can vary from rust colors to blue-green. The male has a spur on its legs. The female is a mottled brown overall similar to a grouse. It does not have a neck ring or spur on its leg. The bill of both the male and female is yellowish and similar to a chicken's bill. The Pheasant can hide in surprisingly small amounts of grass, much less than you would suspect for a bird of its size. The Pheasant call is a very loud, double-noted crowing sound. Click here to listen to a pheasant. When flying it makes hoarse, croaking sounds. Females make much quieter sounds. It is the state bird of South Dakota.
The Ring-necked Pheasant is found in farmlands and adjacent brushy growth or woodlands. It nests on the ground, but roosts in trees in winter. It doesn't migrate, but does have seasonal shifts for better food supplies. It eats waste grains from cultivated crops such as corn, wheat, grasses, hay, barley and oats. It also eats berries and some insects such as cutworms, grasshoppers, beetles and snails.
Native of Asia from the Black and Caspian Seas east to southeastern Siberia, southern China, Korea and Japan. It was introduced to California in the 1850s and now lives in most of the United States (including Hawaii) except the southern states where it is too hot for it to survive. It also cannot survive areas with very cold winters. It has been introduced into Europe.
Q: Where can I get pamphlets and information on food plots and helping Pheasants Forever causes?
A: Contact Pheasants Forever National for brochures and more information at:
Local: (651) 773-2000 ~ Fax: (651) 773-5500
1783 Buerkle Circle
St. Paul, Minnesota 55110