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Animal Detail ViewՄանրամասն` նրանց մասին

28.02.2012

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)


Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Galliformes

Family: Phasianidae

Genus: Phasianus

Species: Phasianus colchicus

 

Description

The Common Pheasant is a medium-sized bird with a pear-shaped body, a small head and a long thin tail. Typical of a pheasant species is the sexual dimorphism according to the different coloration of their plumage. Males have remarkable and colorful feathers which glare metallic in sunlight and have rich golden-brown and black markings. The head color ranges between dark green to purple and is adorned with red eye patches. Especially in breeding times these red wattles are very imposing. Several subspecies have a white collar around their neck. The iris appears in a light orange. Females are buff brown mottled which provides a good camouflage, the iris varies from orange to brown. The tail is long and pointed but a bit shorter than the tails of male birds.  All in all are males larger than females. Whereas the length of males ranges between 70 and 90 centimeters, the wing-length around 250 millimeters and the weight around 1,5 kilogram, the females only achieve a body length up to 70 centimeters, a wing-length around 230 millimeters and  a weight  between 1,1 and 1,4 kilogram.
The feet of Common pheasants are unfeathered.Young birds are beige-brown and patterned.
Overall more than 30 subspecies are listened, but it can be differed in two main groups. Firstly there are the ring-necked pheasants or so called members of the colchicus group which are native to the Eurasian mainland and expose the prominent neck ring. Secondly there is the smaller versicolor group, which lacks the neck-ring and is endemic to Japan.

Range and habitat

Actually the species is native to Eurasia and the range encompassed the Caspian Sea, central to east Asia, China and includes Korea, Japan and former Burma. Over the years it was introduced in Europe, North America, New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii.

Common pheasants live in open landscape as grasslands and farmlands and prefer areas with relatively  light cover. All in all they  occupy a wide range of habitats except dense rainforest, alpine forests or and very dry places. This flexibility is the reason for the successful introduction of the species in many countries.
The  Common pheasant does not need open water because it can obtain their water out of plants and insects. 

Behavior

Common Pheasants are social, mostly non-migratory birds. They are found in large groups in autumn and winter, flocking together in places with cover and food. Groups can be mixed or single-sexed and may contain up to 50 birds. Migratory are only reported in some northern populations which travel southwards for more food availability during winter. Before breeding season in early spring males start to leave the group.  Pheasants spend a lot of time on the ground and are good runners as well as fliers. They can start their fly in nearly vertical and males often call during the starting process. To clean their plumage from old feathers and excess oil the birds bath in dust and sand. Calls by males are made to clarify their territory and to attract females during mating season. Female birds are more quiet and their calls are less audible.

Diet

Common Pheasants do not have a very specific diet but eat a wide variety of plant matter as seeds, grain, berries and other fruits but also insects and invertebrates as grasshoppers and crickets. Mostly the birds search for food scratching in the ground with their bill.

Reproduction

Common pheasants are polygynous which means that one single man has a harem of several females. In spring males establish territories for breeding. These areas do not have settled boundaries. One harem consists out of 2 to 18 females and lasts through mating and nesting period. Normally a female stays in the same harem for one breeding season.
Females are attracted by displays which are performed by wing-whirring and crows. Furthermore the face wattles of the males are more conspicuous than in the rest of the year. Sometimes fights between competitive males take place. Studies report that females prefer males with long tails and that the length of ear tufts and the looks of the wattles influence the choice of the female.
A female bird lays approximately one egg a day until 7 to 15 eggs all in all. Sometimes females share a nesting site. They do not build a nest, but digs a shallow hollow in the ground which is protected by a dense cover. Incubation is only duty of the females which only leave their eggs to feed. After ca. 23 days after the final egg the full downed chicks start to hatch. Their eyes are already open and they are able to walk in order to accompany their mother to food sources. The main role of the hen is after hatching: It helps to feed his offspring until it becomes independent after approximately 70 to 80 days. 12 days after hatching young common pheasants are already able to fly. In the age of one year they achieve sexual maturity.

Conservation Status
Common pheasants are widely distributed. On the IUCN Red List of  Threatened the species  is qualified as Least Concern.

 



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