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North Carolina Wildlife Species Information

Ring-necked Pheasant - Phasianus colchicus

Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Identification Tips:

  • Length: 27 inches
  • Chunky, long-tailed, round-winged, ground-dwelling bird
  • Small head and thin neck
  • Immatures similar to adult female
  • Some subspecies have green body or white wings, but are very locally introduced

Adult male:

  • Green head
  • Pale bill
  • Unfeathered red facial skin around eye
  • White ring around neck
  • Golden plumage with bluish and greenish iridescence and black spots scattered throughout
  • Long, pointed, golden tail feathers with black barring
  • Spurred legs

Adult female:

  • Buffy brown head and underparts
  • Dark brown back with paler edgings and centers
  • Black spots and bars scattered about head, neck and flanks
  • Long, buff-brown, pointed tail
  • Lacks spurs

Similar species:

Adult male unmistakable. Female similar to a number of species of female grouse but has a much longer, pointed tail and bare legs. Female Sharp-tailed Grouse also has a pointed tail but is shorter-necked, has a slight crest, has white outer tail feathers, a shorter tail and feathered legs. Female Sage Grouse has a dark belly patch and feathered legs.

Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.

Above information used courtesy of United States Geological Survey.

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