Key facts

Scientific name: Phasianus colchicus

Status: Resident introduced population

Breeding birds: 2.3 million females

Conservation status: Introduced

Family: Pheasants, partridges and quail

Length: 53 – 89 cm

Wingspan: 70 – 90 cm

Weight: 545 – 1990 g


Adult male pheasants (cocks) have rich chestnut plumage with golden, black and pale blue markings on their body. They have a very long tail feathers which are golden brown barred with black. Underparts are lighter with dark markings.

The pheasant’s head and neck is dark green and it has a white band around the neck. They have bright red wattles and green tufts on the top of the head. Their legs and feet are dark grey.

Female pheasants (hens) are smaller with a shorter tail. They are paler in colour without any of the bright head markings. Juvenile pheasants look similar to the female.


During courtship male pheasants will perform a dance around the female with their wings trailing on the ground. Once the female begins to incubate eggs he will ignore her.

Nesting occurs between March and August peaking between April and June. Pheasants lay 8-14 olive coloured eggs, which are incubated for 22-25 days.

Pheasant chicks leave the nest immediately and fly short distances after 12 days. They fledge at about 9-10 weeks.


Pheasants have a varied diet and will forage on the ground for grain, seeds, insects, buds, leaves and fruit.


Where to see them

Pheasants can be seen across most of the UK except for the far north and west of Scotland usually seen in open countryside near woodlands, copses and hedgerows.


Tom Beeke/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Male pheasants are polygamous and can have a harem of up to 7 hens.

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