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Species Guide
A photo of a Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), male
Common Pheasant, Male

Common Pheasant

Phasianus colchicus

The Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) is a bird of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. It is native to Asia and parts of Europe and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. The male is particularly striking with its bright gold and fiery copper-red plumage with an iridescent sheen of green and purple, while the female is much less conspicuous with her mottled brown appearance.

Identification Tips

Males of the nominate subspecies, Phasianus colchicus colchicus, are identifiable by their long brown streaked black tail and bright body plumage. They lack the white neck ring found in some other races. The head is a bottle green with a small crest and red wattle. Females and juveniles are duller with a mottled brown plumage and a shorter tail.


The Common Pheasant thrives in grassland near water with small copses of trees. It is also found in woodland, farmland, scrub, and wetlands.


Originally from the Balkans to Manchuria, Siberia, Korea, Mainland China, and Taiwan, the Common Pheasant has been introduced to Europe, North America, and other regions.


These birds are gregarious and form loose flocks outside the breeding season. They prefer to run but can take flight abruptly if startled. Males are polygynous and may be accompanied by several females.

Song & Calls

The Common Pheasant emits a distinctive "kok kok kok" call when alarmed.


Nesting occurs on the ground in scrapes lined with grass and leaves. The clutch size ranges from 8–15 eggs, which are incubated for about 22–27 days. Chicks are precocial and leave the nest shortly after hatching.

Diet and Feeding

The diet includes a variety of animal and vegetable matter such as fruit, seeds, grain, insects, and small vertebrates.

Conservation status

The IUCN lists the Common Pheasant as Least Concern, although some subspecies are at risk due to hybridization with introduced birds.

Common Pheasant Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Common Pheasant Fun Facts

Did you know?
There are about 30 subspecies of Common Pheasant which differ in the male plumage.

Common Pheasants on Birda


More Pheasants & Allies

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