Information about: Pheasant

Index | Pheasant

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Pheasant. A family of birds comprising peafowl, true pheasants, jungle fowl, turkeys, and Guinea fowl. The true pheasants, of which there are about fifteen species, whose home is Asia, are among the most gorgeous of the feathered tribe. No pheasant is indigenous to Europe, the British species being an introduction from Asia Minor, and supposed to have been imported into England by the Romans. At the present day, however, very few of this original breed exist in that country, for it has been crossed with the Chinese ring-necked pheasant to such a degree that pure-bred birds are rare. The pheasant chiefly frequents woods for the purpose of roosting, being in the daytime found in hedge bottoms and thickets searching for its food, which consists of grain, seeds, green shoots, and insects. It is polygamous, and very pugnacious in its own territory, not permitting intrusion from the males of its race. The female deposits her eggs, from six to ten in number, in a slight hollow, scantily lined with dry leaves; but, being a very timid bird, and easily made to desert her post, the eggs are in most cases removed from the nest, and the young hatched out under domestic fowls. Among the most beautiful of the pheasant family are the golden pheasant and Reeves's pheasant, both inhabitants of central Asia.