Ring-necked Pheasant

Phasianus colchicus
A Ring-necked Pheasant specimen on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

A large (30-36 inches) game bird, the male Ring-necked Pheasant is most easily identified by its mottled gold-brown body, long striped tail, iridescent head with red wattles, and conspicuous white neck ring. Feral populations are derived from several distinct captive stocks, and individual males in these populations may show variation in the size and color of the body, neck-ring, head, and wattles. Females are much smaller and plainer, being mottled brown overall. The Ring-necked Pheasant is native to portions of Central and East Asia. Being a popular game bird, this species has been introduced to a number of regions outside its native range. Introductions and releases of this species have taken place in Europe since antiquity, and have more recently been successful in temperate regions of North America and Australasia. Small populations may exist for short periods of time where this species is stocked for hunting, but these populations are often not self-sufficient and may vanish without continued releases. Ring-necked Pheasants are generally non-migratory. In their native range, Ring-necked Pheasants inhabit semi-open woodland and grassland habitats. Elsewhere, this species may be found in similar habitat types as well as in agricultural fields, pastures, and marshes. Ring-necked Pheasants primarily eat plant material, including seeds, grains, shoots, and berries, although this species may also eat insects when available. In appropriate habitat, Ring-necked Pheasants may be seen walking on the ground in fields and woodlands while foraging for food. When approached, this species may run for cover or attempt to fly short distances to safety on the ground or in trees. Ring-necked Pheasants are most active during the day, although males may begin calling slightly before sunrise.

DC Information

Introduced locally with little success. An uncommon resident in agricultural areas and wood margins. Nests from early May to late August. The male is brightly colored.

Specimen Information

Date:  12/19/1938
Collected By:  MH Cohen
Locality: Hungary, Püspökladány
Sex:  Not recorded
Catalog ID:  356549

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC37452 Phasianus colchicus (Common Pheasant)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC16976 Phasianus colchicus (Common Pheasant)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC43538 Phasianus colchicus (Common Pheasant)