The following page was put together with assistance from Andy Maycen, James Pfarr, & Scott Vowers.
Other Names: Pheasant, Ring-necked Pheasant, Game Pheasant, True Pheasant; see subspecies for others.
Range: Broad range over much of temperate Asia; introduced nearly worldwide including North America, Europe, Chile, Hawaii, Tasmania and New Zealand.
Subspecies: Black-necked Pheasants -
Habitat: A wide variety of habitats throughout its natural and introduced range.
Description: (Please Note - Andy Maycen has provided gbwf.org with a number of detailed descriptions of the subspecies currently known to be in captivty; I will be in the process of adding them as time allows.)
Status in Wild: Perhaps the most common of all pheasants. In its introduced range, populations are supplemented annually with captive-bred birds for hunting and in some locations, they are common to abundant. When releases of these "Game" pheasants occur within existing, native ranges, the native race integrates with these birds and has caused such races as bianchii, colchicus and spetentrionalis to diminish in numbers.
Interesting Facts: State Bird of South Dakota. The "wild" population
in North America is believed to have originated from initial releases in Oregon
and South Dakota in the 1880s.
Status in Aviculture: Although millions of Ringneck Pheasants are raised each year, most of these are a mixture of the grey-rumped races and the pure subspecies are very rare in US aviculture. There are only a few breeders in the USA keep and specialize in the distinct, pure subspecies. There are however, a fair number of pure subspecies can be found in aviaries in Europe and Australia.
Breeding Season: Feb-June.
Breeding Age: First year.
Clutch Size: 6 to 12 eggs, but many more can be produced if the eggs are removed. If allowed to do so, the females will hatch their own eggs with the males assisting in the chick rearing.
Incubation Period: 23-26 days.
Misc. Aviculture Notes: The true pheasants, in pure form, are quite a rarity in aviculture, especially in the US. Over the years due to hybridization, pure birds of many of the available subspecies are difficult to locate. Most breeders are unaware of what pure birds of any of the subspecies should look like. Identification of females is very difficult due to many similarities. Many descriptions in literature are too vague to be of any value to the hobbyist.
The true pheasants, as an aviary bird, do best in planted aviaries where their nervous tendencies can be kept to a minimum by providing cover. In a large, well planted aviary, true pheasants can be kept with other pheasant species such as Monals or Tragopans. To prevent possible fertile hybrids, they should be kept with long-tailed pheasants or ruffed pheasants.
There are a
number of mutations that have been developed in captivity. I won't go into great
detail as they are not of any importance to conservation aviculture. The jumbo
and white are bred in large numbers for restaurants. The
melanistic form is often seen among "wild" populations
in the UK. The "Green Mute" is common in American collections. Other varieties
include buff, red, pied and I'm sure many other combinations.
Click on thumbnails for larger views.
Bibliography and Further Reading
Links related to Common Pheasants. Please note, links will open in a new window/tab, depending on your browser settings.
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