Ed Golson Outdoor Education


Ring-necked Pheasant

Scientific Name: Phasianus colchicus

Description:  The ring-necked pheasant is a large ground dwelling game bird.  They can grow to be between 27 and 36 inches long and normally weigh about 5 pounds.  The males and females of the species look quite a bit different.  The male ring-necked pheasant is famous for its greenish head, white band around its neck, and its golden tail feathers.  The female on the other hand, is somewhat smaller, and has a dull spotted brown color.

Pheasants can fly, but they are better adapted for life on the ground. They have powerful legs that they use to outrun dangerous situations.  Pheasants will usually fly when they have no other option.


Habitat:  Pheasants were originally found in eastern Asia, but they have been introduced into the U.S. in the early 1800's and can now be found in almost every state.  Pheasant habitat in Michigan includes a combination of grasslands, wetlands, croplands, and brush lands. The combination of these cover types provide nesting cover, brood rearing cover, roosting cover, escape cover, winter cover, and food.

The pheasants greatest need in most areas of Michigan is for undisturbed nesting cover and quality winter cover with an adjacent food source.  Great horned owls and red-tailed hawks are the two primary pheasant predators. Changes in agriculture and loss of habitat have impacted the pheasant population. 

The current trend of "urban sprawl" has also decreased pheasant habitat as thousands of acres of habitat is turned into parking lots and subdivisions.  Proper habitat management is the key to rebuilding Michigan's pheasant populations.  Groups such as Pheasants Forever are addressing these limiting factors.

Feeding:  Pheasants eat seeds and grains.  They will also eat insects that they find by scratching in the dirt.

Back to Previous Page