Ring-necked Pheasant – State Bird of South Dakota

Description: The Ring-necked pheasant is one of America’s most popular game birds. It is not a native species, rather, it was introduced to the states from China and is now common throughout much of the northern part of the nation. The male is unmistakable. Measuring up to 28 inches in length, it has an iridescent green head, a bare red face, and a distinctive white ring around its neck. It has a maroon back, grayish wings, and a shiny maroon breast. Its underparts are black. It has a long, colorful golden tail streaked with black markings. Its tail is often help up at an angle. The female is noticeably smaller and light brown throughout. This ground-dwelling bird has long legs.

Diet: The Ring-necked pheasant feeds on grains, grasses, seeds, leaves, roots, and occasionally insects.

Range: The Ring-necked pheasant is a year-round visitor throughout the northern and central parts of the United States, and southern portions of the Canadian prairie provinces. pheasants are frequently re-stocked in areas and have been introduced on the Hawaiian islands. The Ring-necked pheasant is found on every continent but Antarctica.

Habitat: The Ring-necked pheasant is a bird of open country and is frequently found in agricultural lands, overgrown fields, woodland borders, meadows, and prairies.

Nesting: Female pheasants lay 7-15 eggs on the ground under the cover of tall weeds. Male pheasants defend a harem of several females.

Status: The Ring-necked pheasant is declining, but in no danger of becoming threatened.