MorphologyRead full entry
Common pheasants are medium-sized birds with deep, pear-shaped bodies, small heads and long, thin tails. They are sexually dimorphic, with males being more colorful and larger than females. Males have spectacular, multi-colored plumage with long, pointed, barred tails and fleshy red eye patches. Their heads range in color from glossy dark green to iridescent purple. Many subspecies have a distinctive white collar around their neck which gives them their ‘ring-necked’ name. Female Phasianus colchicus are less colorful. They have buff brown, mottled plumage and, like males, have long pointed tails, although they are shorter than those of males.
There are two major groupings of subspecies within Phasianus colchicus. The colchicus group, or ring-necked pheasants, are native to mainland Eurasia. They are barred, with coppery red or yellow on their mantle and underparts, and have the prominent neck ring. Thirty-one subspecies are listed under this grouping. The other grouping of subspecies is the versicolor group, which lacks the neck ring and has green on their neck, breast, and upper belly. This group is native to Japan and was introduced to Hawaii. There are three subspecies in the versicolor group.
Average mass: 1263 g.
Range length: 42.5 to 53.6 cm.
Range wingspan: 23.5 to 25.8 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; sexes colored or patterned differently; male more colorful; ornamentation