British wildlife recordings
Phasianus colchicus : Common Pheasant - Phasianidae
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Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
The colourful and handsome pheasant is Britain's most widespread game bird, but is not native. The pheasant was probably introduced by the Romans for food, and comes originally from south-east Russia eastward to China. The male is instantly recognisable with an iridescent copper-coloured body, a metallic green head, a red face, and a long tail. Like most other species of pheasant, the female has ground coloration to aid camouflage at the nest. The pheasant is found along woodland edges, in copses and farmland with thick hedges. Its diet is varied and consists largely of seeds, berries, and fruits, except in summer when large numbers of ants and beetles are consumed. The familiar call of the cock pheasant is a far-carrying crowing call often combined with a flapping of wings. The male pheasant often has a harem of at least two females, which raise separate broods amongst the ground vegetation. The male has little to do with the young, which are brooded by the female and are quite able to feed themselves after a very short time. It is difficult to estimate the pheasant population as gamekeepers release large numbers each year for shooting but there are thought to be over 2,000,000 males.