30-36" (75-91 cm). Male: Iridescent greenish-black head with red facial patches and wattles and two feathered tufts; pinkish gray bill hooks at the end; white, incomplete neck ring; long, pointed tail. Body deep tawny-chestnut with blue-black belly and rich golden, mottled flanks. Immatures and females: primarily buff, mottled with brown and black.
Similar Species- Sharp-tailed Grouse
Explosive double squawk: Kork-kok
Native to Asia. Introduced and established in North America from southern Canada, south locally to California, Utah, sothern New Mexico, southeastern Texas, northwestern Oklahoma, southern Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.
Found in open country -- especially cultivated areas, scrubby wastes, open woodlands, and edges of woods, but also in shrub steppe, riverside thickets, swamps, and open mountain forests.
Eats waste corn, wheat barley, oats, buckwheat, berries, and seeds of ragweed, burdocks, and pine. In spring, eats green vegetatioin. Will also eat some insects, mice, and snails.
Nests in depression in grass or weeds. Forages on ground. roosts in trees. Usually ranges over no more than 2-3 km. In fall, family groups may join and form flocks of 30-40 birds; flocks break up in spring. Populations in Idaho thought to be declining due to winter habitat loss. Idaho study showed pheasants preferred sagebrush, wetland, and herbaceous cover types in winter, and avoided grassland and agricultural areas. Livestock grazing decreased pheasant use of sagebrush. In 1994 the Idaho Dept. Fish & Game initiated research on pheasant response to intensive habitat management, predator management, and the effects of pesticides on pheasants.
Leptich, D.J. 1992. Winter habitat use by hen pheasants in southern Idaho. J. Wildl. Manage. 56:367-380.