Belongs to: game birds

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Widespread ground-dwelling gamebird, male with unmistakable plumage

Habitat: wooded terrain, agricultural land with copses, hedges and reeds

Widespread and common resident


Male, bottle-green head, red wattle, brown rust body with long (45 cm) tail, 82 cm; female brown, heavily speckled, 58 cm

Often seen in open fields; flies only when disturbed, rocketing up on whirring wings; spends nights roosting in trees

Eats buds, shoots, spilled grain, berries and seeds


Nest is a hollow on ground

One brood of 7–15 plain olive-brown eggs, April–June

Many birds are hand-reared and released in early autumn for the shooting season

© Owen Keen

© David Harrison