Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Galliformes / Phasianidae / Phasianus / Species
Phasianus colchicus - Common pheasant (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Pheasant (UK).
  • Fazant (Holland).
  • Fasain de Colchide (France).
  • Fasan (Germany & Switzerland).
  • Fagiano comune (Italy).
  • Faisán vulgar (Spain).
  • Ring-necked Pheasant (N. America).
  • Phasianus colchichus colchichus - Common pheasant (B89)
  • Phasianus colchichus torquatus - Ring-necked pheasant (B89)
  • Phasianus colchichus versicolor - Green pheasant (B89)

Names for newly-hatched


Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Gordon McLeod

Species Editor

Debra Bourne

Major References

B89, B162, B163, B164, B165, B166 

Aviculture references:

(UK Contacts)

(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

  • --

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Pheasants, Partridges, Quail.

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques


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Aviculture Information


Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length Head to tail:
  • General: 53-89cm (B162); 60-90cm (B165)
  • Male: 66-89cm (B162); 75-90cm / 30-35 ins (B166)
  • Female: 55-70cm (B164); 52-64cm / 20-25 ins (B166)

Tail length:

  • General: 20-47cm (B162)
  • Male: 35-47cm (B162); 35-45cm (B164)
  • Female: 20-25cm (B164)


  • Male: 80-90cm (B162)


  • Male: 235-267mm (B162)
  • Female: 210-235mm (B162)
Adult weight Male 1000-1700g (B162)
Female 750-1200g (B162)
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Short and stubby, buff coloured. (B162, B165, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Golden yellow with black iris. (B162, B165, B166)
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Buff coloured. (B162, B165, B166)
Eyes (Iris) Black. (B162, B165, B166)

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Adult Male Medium length, grey. (B162, B165, B166)
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Grey-brown (B162, B165)

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Adult Male
  • Upperparts: Deep brown, spotted black; lower back: grey or greenish-grey; rump: russet.
  • Head: Bottle green; wattle bright red.
  • Underparts: Orange-brown, spotted black. Throat green.
  • Wings: Russet; upper flight feathers and coverts: brown, white coverts with black triangle marks.
  • Tail:Long and pointed. Upper and under: brown with black barring.

(B162, B165, B166)

Variations (If present) Female:
  • Upperparts: Mottled (heavy speckling) buff and brown.
  • Head: Mottled buff and brown; cheek brown cheek stripe.
  • Underparts: Pale cream.
  • Tail: Long and pointed. 

(B162, B165, B166)

  • Upperparts: Mottled buff and brown.
  • Head: Mottled buff and brown.
  • Underparts: Pale cream.
  • Tail: Short and pointed. 

(B162, B165, B166)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Precocial; mobile, downy, eyes open, follow parents. (B163)

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Reproductive Season

Time of year
  • Mid-March to end of June (B162); April to June. (B166)
No. of Clutches 1 (B163, B166)

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Nest placement and structure

  • Scrape on ground.
  • Unlined, located in thick cover of tall grass, scrub or hedges.
  • Occasionally nest on raised substrates such as straw bales or walls concealed with vegetation.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 7-17 (B163); 7-15 ( B166)
Range 7-17 (B163)
Egg description: Oval, smooth and glossy, 45mm long; olive-brown in colour, with no markings. Occasional colour variants of olive, brown, or grey.

(B162, B163, B166)

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23-28 days (B162); 7-15 days (B163); 23-27 days. (B166)

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Synchronous. (B163)

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Capable of flight at c12 days (B162); 23-28 days (B163); 12-14 days. (B166)

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Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Scratch and dig for food on ground, jump to reach berries, and may also feed in trees (B162)
Newly-hatched Shown food by parents (B163)

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female only. (B163)
Incubation By female only. (B163)
Newly-hatched Fed by female only. (B163)

Remain with mother for 70-80 days. (B162)

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Social Behaviour

  • Gregarious
  • Unstable winter flocks, often with segregation of the sexes, males in smaller groups of up to 10, with females in groups of up to 30 individuals.


Inter-specific May lay eggs in nests of other species. (B162)

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Polygynous harems common, though monogamy also practised.
  • Eggs may be laid in other birds nests.
  • Courtship strutting displays by males dependant on composition of groups - males display readily to single females, but perform little or no courtship display to groups of females.

(B162, B163)

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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

  • Walk.
  • Run.
  • Take off and land from ground or vegetation.


Circadian --

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Natural Diet


  • Omnivores.
  • Grain, seeds, berries and other fruit, green shoots.
  • Small arthropods and molluscs.
  • Rarely, small vertebrates.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Originally restricted to Black Sea regions, but introduced widely across Europe over past 1000 years. Found across Europe, central and east Asia. Largely limited to temperate areas without deep snowfall. (B163)

Britain: Widespread, except in Scotland, where presence is dependant on rearing. (B166)


  • Non-migratory - severe weather leads to mortality rather than movement.
  • Flight ability limited, rare recorded flights of 6.5km across water.


Occasional and Accidental --

 Widespread across the world, including Europe, Africa, North America and New Zealand.

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  • Open grasslands, heaths, forests and cultivated fields.
  • Does poorly in exposed, cold or wet areas.

(B162, B163, B166)

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Intraspecific variation

Many geographical sub-populations. Clinal variations, though confused by deliberate introductions of sub-species worldwide. (B162)

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Common due to deliberate introduction and captive rearing; indigenous wild population in decline. (B162)

General Legislation  
CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Remaining indigenous populations of Istanbul and Black Sea region likely to become extinct due to release of non-indigenous populations for game purposes. (B162)

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Captive Populations

Many captive-release populations worldwide bred for game purposes. (B162)

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