As far as their description is concerned, the Ringneck Pheasant comes in many color variations from white to black. The color variations is wide due to captive breeding & hybridization between the bird's subspecies and with the Green pheasant, strongly reinforced by systematically releases to the wild. Also known as the Chinese pheasant in the United States, the Ringneck pheasant is a bird that comes from the pheasant family named Phasianidae of the order Galliformes. These birds are native to the continent of Asia but they have been introduced in other regions as a game bird. As a matter of fact, this bird is one of the most popular game birds in the areas where it was introduced.
Ringneck pheasants can be found in farmlands, woodlands, wetlands and scrubs. Yet, the Ringneck’s natural habitat is grassland near water along with scattered trees.
Regarding their diet, these birds eat a wide variety of vegetable and animal foods, such as fruits, seeds, leaves as well as lizards, snakes and from time to time, birds. During winter, they also eat corn and wheat.
As far as the breeding aspect is concerned, they nest on the ground, producing a clutch of 10 eggs (give or take 1-2) over a period of 2-3 weeks in April-June. The incubation lasts around 23 to 26 days. The chicks stay in the near vicinity of the hen for a few weeks; they develop very fast and by the time they are 15 weeks old they look like adults.
The main predators of the Ringneck Pheasant are foxes and coyotes, although other animals that consider them tasty could be seen as predators, as well. Hawks and falcons will hunt them as well.
Hunting Tips & Tricks
These birds can either be hunted in light or heavy covers. A hunter should know a few useful tips in order to use the others’ disadvantage in his/her own advantage. For example, going through the areas that have been already hunted; birds move throughout the day. Also, looking for places that certainly discourage most hunters is a good option. To read about other interesting tips you can apply during your hunting trip, check out our Tips & Tricks section.
Did you know that there are about 30 subspecies of the Ringneck pheasant? Also, while some of them are wild-born feral pheasants, others are raised in captivity. However, they are bred to be hunted and shot. They are extensively hunted in Europe (especially in the United Kingdom) and in the United States. The Ringneck pheasant can be found across the entire globe thanks to the fact that they can breed in captivity and can adapt to any given environment.
This bird was brought in Great Britain by the Romans and Normans but became extinct in the beginning of the 17th century. Later on, it was introduced again and rediscovered as a game bird in the 1830s and since that period it was reared extensively by gamekeepers. Approximately 30 million Ringneck Pheasants are released each year for hunting purposes and there is no risk of extinction nowadays.
In 1857 these birds were introduced in North America and have become very well established in the Midwest areas as well as the Plains states, Mexico and Canada. These birds were also introduced in Tasmania, New Zealand, some areas of north-west Europe and Chile. There were other attempts to introduce them in other regions but the success was insignificant.
Their call has a wide variety of vocalizations, including a drawn whistle and even a clucking sound.