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Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus


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Ring-necked Pheasant, male
credit: Lukasz Lukasik/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Phasianidae, Pheasants and Grouse view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has orange-brown body plumage, blue-green sheen on head, striking red wattle, and long, orange and barred tail; white collar is absent in some birds. Captive-bred violet-blue forms are sometimes released and can be confused with male Japanese Green Pheasant (P. versicolor, sometimes classified as a separate species). ADULT FEMALE Mottled buffy brown, with a shorter tail than male. JUVENILE Resembles a small, short-tailed, and dowdy female.

Dimensions Length: 30-36" (76-91 cm)

Habitat Native to Asia and introduced for hunting. Now locally common and populations are boosted each fall by release of captive-bred birds for hunting. Favors mixed agricultural landscapes with scattered woodland and brushy borders.

Observation Tips Male's territorial call is distinctive in spring and displaying birds are entertaining to watch.

Range Southwest, Southeast, Northwest, Plains, New England, Western Canada, Eastern Canada, Texas, Mid-Atlantic, California, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains

Voice Territorial male utters a loud, shrieking call, followed by bout of vigorous wing beating. In alarm, utters a loud ke-tuk, ke-tuk, ke-tuk as bird flies away.

Discussion Male is colorful and unmistakable; adult female is also distinctive. Takes to the air noisily and explosively when flushed. Sexes are strikingly dissimilar.