The Adaptations of the Ring-necked Pheasant

Written by dan fielder
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The Adaptations of the Ring-necked Pheasant
Male ring-necked pheasants are larger and more colourful than females. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The scientific name for the ring-necked pheasant is Phasianus colchicus. It is also known as the common pheasant. The species is typically nonmigratory. The ring-necked pheasant is native to Eurasia from the Caspian Sea east to central Asia and China, including Korea and Japan. It has been introduced to North America, Europe, Australia North America, Australia and New Zealand. This pheasant has physical, behavioural and reproductive adaptations that enable it to survive.

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Physical Adaptations

Ring-necked pheasants are large birds with a length of 21 to 36 inches and an average weight of about 1.36kg. This size adaptation enables them to intimidate or injure medium-sized predators. Male ring-necked pheasants are brightly coloured, with blue-green heads, red face patches and a white neck collar. This adaptation increases their attractiveness to females.

Behavioural Adaptations

In the autumn and winter, ring-necked pheasants form flocks of up to 50 birds. Having more eyes on potential predators gives the flock better odds to avoid an attack. While mostly nonmigratory, ring-necked pheasants occasionally migrate to warmer areas during extremely cold weather. The birds prefer the edges of open fields and forest edges, and even roost in trees. These areas give them enough cover to hide from danger.

Movement Adaptations

Ring-necked pheasants spend most of their time on the ground, and they are fast runners. They often fly for short distances if threatened, and are strong enough flyers to make a quick take-off. During these getaway flights, the birds seek the best cover available.


During the courting and nesting period, dominant male pheasants have a harem of two to 18 females. They compete for females by fighting. According to Animal Diversity Web, "Physical interactions between competing males may include flying at each other breast-to-breast, biting wattles, or high leaps with kicks toward the other's bill." The winners of these competitions are generally stronger and can offer better protection to the females.

Reproductive Adaptations

The female ring-necked pheasant incubates 10 to 12 eggs at a time. Chicks emerge from the eggs with open eyes and a down covering. They can walk right away and follow the mother to food sources. Chicks can also fly within two weeks. These adaptations speed up the time required for self-sufficiency.

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