Pheasant

Phasianus colchicus

About

A very familiar gamebird, pheasants are large, colourful and have a long tail. Common in farmland and woodland throughout Britain, the males' loud, sharp, croaking call can be heard resonating through the countryside before the bird is actually seen. Pheasants eat seeds, berries, leaves and insects; they roost in trees and can form flocks in winter. During the breeding season, one male may mate with many females, which hatch and raise the chicks alone.

How to identify

Unmistakeable: male pheasants have striking bronze plumage, a red face and wattle, a green neck with a white ring around it and a long tail. Females are sandy brown with an intricate pattern of black spots and bars. Pheasants are larger than partridges and have longer tails.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The pheasant is an introduced species in Britain. Some introduced species can become a pest, both to humans and to other wildlife, while others can live easily alongside our native species. Pheasants in large numbers can cause significant damage to woodland ground flora, but as a gamebird, it's possible that the introduction and success of the pheasant has helped to take pressure off certain native species. The Wildlife Trusts record and monitor our local wildlife to understand the effects of various factors on their populations such as the introduction of new species. You can help with this vital monitoring work by becoming a volunteer - you'll not only help local wildlife, but learn new skills and make new friends along the way.

Species information

Common name
Pheasant
Latin name
Phasianus colchicus
Category
Birds
Gamebirds
Statistics
Length: 75-88cm Wingspan: 80cm Weight: 975-1,400g Average Lifespan: 1-2 years
Conservation status
Introduced species.