British Wildlife Wiki

Pheasant -

The Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), is a British gamebird that is released in large numbers on shooting estates. They are not native to this country, originating from the east and released in the country for sport on shooting estates, since then they have become part of British wildlife.


The male pheasants are reddish in colour, with a green head and long tail feathers which are quite distinctive. The female pheasants are brown, to camouflage them against the leaf litter of their habitat, woodland and scrub.


In the spring, a male pheasant (otherwise known as a cock pheasant) pairs up with up to 10 female pheasants (also known as hen pheasants). After mating, the cock pheasant patrols his territory, but stays away from the nest, as nests are on the ground, and a cock pheasant being near the nest would give the nest away to predators. The nest is built under bushes, to further keep it hidden until the eggs hatch. When the eggs hatch, the hen pheasant often walks around with her chicks following. Until about August, all Pheasant chicks look the same in colour, and are unidentifiable as male or female.


Pheasants feed on insects, berries, nuts and seeds, and often eat corn put out for them in feed hoppers. Crops get specially planted for Pheasants to feed on. These crops are known as cover crops and may include plants such as sunflowers, oilseed rape, mustard and maize, among others.