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Ring-necked Pheasant

Phasianus colchicus ORDER: GALLIFORMES FAMILY: PHASIANIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Ring-necked Pheasants stride across open fields and weedy roadsides in the U.S. and southern Canada. Males sport iridescent copper-and-gold plumage, a red face, and a crisp white collar; their rooster-like crowing can be heard from up to a mile away. The brown females blend in with their field habitat. Introduced to the U.S. from Asia in the 1880s, pheasants quickly became one of North America’s most popular upland game birds. Watch for them along roads or bursting into flight from brushy cover.

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Birds of North America Online

Calls

Male pheasants “crow” throughout the day all year round, especially at dawn and dusk in springtime. sounding like a truncated version of a domestic rooster’s crowing. Males also utter a series of loud, excited two-note calls when they flush. In addition, adults of each sex give specialized calls associated with flight, alarm, distress, copulation, and incubation. The female uses one call to signal her brood to hide from danger, another to call them back together.

Other Sounds

Crowing males make a drumming sound with their wings. Following copulation, they sometimes make a low fluttering sound by rattling their tail feathers. Both sexes make sound by beating their wings together as they launch into flight.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Find This Bird

Because they live in tall vegetation and old fields, Ring-necked Pheasants can be hard to see even in places where they’re numerous. Keep an eye out for them running between patches of cover as you travel through agricultural areas—particularly along dirt roads where the birds often forage in weedy areas. Winter is a good time to look for Ring-necked Pheasants, when vegetation is at a minimum, crops have been harvested, and some areas have a snowy backdrop for the birds to stand out against. In spring and summer, listen and watch for males performing their calling and wing-flapping display in open areas.