Sunday, 3 February 2013

Common Pheasant

order : Galliformes      Genus & Species : Phasianidae     Family : Phasianus colchicus

The common pheasant is a speedy runner and, over short distances, a powerful, low-altitude flier. Though a fast flier over short distances, the common pheasant spends most of its life on the ground, foraging in undergrowth, taking dust baths and building its nest amid shrubs. They found in Southeast Europe and central Asia to China, Korea and Japan. 

Habitat : The common pheasant is most often found in open, lightly wooded areas, parks and farmlands of Asia, Europe and North America. But it also populates desert oases of the western U.S. as well as the cool mountain forests of China, where it lives at altitudes of up to 13,000'. It prefers to nest under protective cover and thrives along river and lake banks, hiding in reed beds or riverside thickets of tamarisks, poplars, wild olives and other trees and shrubs. Rice fields provide cover and ready food in China, Korea and Japan. 
Food & Feeding : The common pheasant is an omnivore, feeding on what is most readily available in each season and habitat. Farmlands provide an abundance of energy-rich grains and fruits, while wooded areas offer berries, roots, insects, worms and slugs.Young pheasants (up to 4 months old) eat more animal matter than adults to obtain the protein necessary for growth.The common pheasant spends most of its time on the ground scratching for food. It makes use of both its bill and its feet for digging, but in spring, it alights in high tree branches to feast on tasty buds and flowers. During winter, pheasants may feed together in large flocks. 
Behavior : Active both night and day, the common pheasant begins calling well before sunrise. The birds often leave their roosting sites at that time to forage for 2–3 hours, then move to a nearby source of water for a short time. Pheasants like to spend the warmest part of the day relaxing in the shade, preening, dustbathing and sleeping. The birds then continue their search for food until dusk, when they settle for the night.They roost most often in dense ground cover, but they may also adopt nests abandoned by squirrels or other birds. Roosting groups in the cold winter months may vary from 2–24 birds. 
Breeding : Common-pheasant breeding is based on dominance. The dominant male will attract a harem of several females, then woo them with a complex courtship ritual of movement and sound. Standing tall and straight, the male struts around the female in semicircles, feathers fluffed and wattle inflated. To attract the attention of a female, he will hiss, flutter his tail feathers and crouch low to the ground with his tail held high, while making a soft, guttural cooing sound. After mating, the female lays 1–2 eggs a day until she has a full clutch of around 10. After a 3–4 week incubation, the chicks are born virtually ready to start feeding themselves. The male takes no responsibility for the young birds, leaving their care entirely to the female. At 12 days the young make their first flights, and at 10 weeks the brood leaves its mother. 

Bill : The pheasant’s short, downwardcurving bill helps it pluck berries from branches and crack seeds it scavenges from the ground. 
Plumage : The larger male typically has a metallic blue or green head and copper-colored body feathers highlighted with dark breast markings and a white ring around the neck. To blend in with her grassy surroundings, the smaller female has less colorful plumage. Black and chestnut bands adorn the long tails of both males and females. 
Feet : The two long front toes are opposed by a single rear toe and heel spur. This arrangement provides excellent balance for running and allows the bird to scratch for seeds and insects in the undergrowth. 
Tail : Both sexes have long, streaming tail feathers that taper to a point. The male’s tail is much longer than the female’s, but both have chestnut bands. 

Weight : 1.5–3 lbs.
Length : Male 20–36"; female 20–26"
Wingspan : 32"
Sexual Maturity : 1 year
Breeding Season : Varies with location

The state bird of South Dakota is the common pheasant.The ring-necked pheasant is another name for the common pheasant because of the typical white ring around its neck.

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