|Conservation status||Intensively managed as a game bird in most areas where it occurs in North America. Some populations here probably not self-sustaining, but are maintained by releases of game-farm birds.|
|Family||Pheasants and Grouse|
|Habitat||Farms, fields, marsh edges, brush. May live in any semi-open habitat. Sometimes in open grassland but more often in brushy meadows, woodland edges, hedgerows, farmland with mixed crops. Access to water may be important; pheasants are often common around edges of marshes, and are rarely found in very arid places.|
Typically feeds on ground, sometimes in trees. On ground, scratches with feet or digs with bill to uncover food.
Usually 10-12, sometimes 6-15 or more. Plain olive-buff, rarely pale blue. Females sometimes lay eggs in each others' nests or in those of other birds; clutches of more than about 18 probably result from two or more females. Incubation is by female only, 23-28 days. Young: Downy young leave nest with female shortly after hatching; mostly feed themselves. Male may rarely accompany female and brood. Young capable of short flights at about 12 days, but stay with female for 10-12 weeks.
Downy young leave nest with female shortly after hatching; mostly feed themselves. Male may rarely accompany female and brood. Young capable of short flights at about 12 days, but stay with female for 10-12 weeks.
Omnivorous. Diet varies with season and place. Feeds on wide variety of grains and smaller seeds, fresh green shoots, buds, roots, berries, insects, spiders, earthworms, snails; rarely eats lizards, snakes, frogs, rodents. Diet may include more seeds in winter, more insects in summer.
Male defends territory by taking raised perch, giving crowing call while briefly drumming with wings. One male may have several mates, the females associating with each other in a small flock on his territory. In courtship, male struts in half-circle around female with back and tail feathers tilted toward her, near wing drooping, face wattles swollen. Nest site is on ground in dense cover. Nest (built by female) is shallow depression lined with grass, leaves, weeds.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
Download Our Bird Guide App
Apparently a permanent resident everywhere, both on native range and where introduced.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsLoud crowing caw-cawk! followed by a resonant beating of the wings. When alarmed flies off with a loud cackle.
Learn more about this sound collection.
How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Ring-necked Pheasant
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Ring-necked Pheasant
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.