Range/Habitat: Ring-necked pheasants are found in the US and southern Canada. They can adapt to a variety of habitats but prefer trees or dense shrub in the spring/summer and in forested wetlands, farm fields, and weedy areas in the fall. There are Ring-necked pheasants at Denzil Park! You will hear their unique call more often than you will see them.
Behavior: Ring-necked pheasants are not very efficient flyers and spend most of their time on the ground. They forage by scratching at the ground and picking fruits, seeds, leaves, insects, and roots with their beaks. They can dig up roots as far as 3 inches below the soil. They do fly when threatened or startled and have extremely powerful breast muscles. They can leap vertically and fly upwards at speeds of 40mph!
Breeding: Males establish breeding territories in the spring and attracts mates with multiple breeding displays. He attracts several females and they stick with him in a single-male harem throughout the breeding season. The female chooses her nest less than a half mile from her wintering range. She scratches out a shallow depression on the ground surrounded by tall vegetation. Chicks are born precocial (well developed) and follow their mothers immediately after hatching.
Conservation: Listing: Least Concern. Ring-necked pheasants were introduced to North America from Asia in the 1880s. Since then, they have been a very popular game bird. The Conservation Reserve Program, funded by the Farm Bill, helps to conserve and restore pheasant habitat.