There are actually hundreds of species within the biological family of Pheasants. These species include the Junglefowl and Chickens, Turkeys, Old-World Quails and Partridges as well as the true Pheasants. Pheasants family’s native range is restricted to Asia but they have been introduced to other regions especially the Common Pheasant (the most well-known), which is widespread throughout the world.
In general, pheasants are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism. Male birds (Cocks) are highly decorated with bright colors and adornments such as wattles and long tails. The female pheasant (the Hen) is relatively dull in comparison and tends to be brown or grey in color.
Pheasants are omnivorous birds and therefore they eat both plant and animal matters. They feed on seeds, berries and fruits, insects, worms and occasionally small reptiles such as lizards. Breeders primarily concentrate on raising the Common Pheasant but fanciers also raise a number of the more exotic species. Also, some conservationists are dedicated for raising endangered and threatened species to help maintain their populations.
The female pheasant lays between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch which are generally large in size. The eggs hatch after an incubation period of just under a month. Pheasant chicks are nursed and fed by the their mother until they fly away from the nest when they are just a few weeks old.
The pheasant has a number of natural predators in the wild, although the human tends to be the most common predator as they are hunted for their meat and feathers. Other animals that prey on pheasants are; Foxes, Dogs and Wildcats along with smaller predators that eat their eggs. Although the pheasant isn’t at immediate risk from extinction, its populations are declining mainly due to habitat loss and over-hunting.