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Common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)—H. Reinhard/Bruce Coleman Inc.
Any of about 50 species of mostly long-tailed birds in the family Phasianidae (order Galliformes), chiefly Asian but naturalized elsewhere. Most species inhabit open woodlands and brushy fields. All have a hoarse call. The feet and lower legs are unfeathered. Females are inconspicuous. Most males are strikingly coloured and have one or more leg spurs, and some have a fleshy facial ornament. Males sometimes fight to the death for a harem of hens. Male ring-necked or common pheasants (Phasianus colchicus), 35 in. (90 cm) long, have a streaming tail, coppery breast, purplish green neck, and ear tufts; they are widespread in the northern U.S. Japanese green pheasants (P. versicolor) call in concert when an earthquake is imminent.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pheasant, visit Britannica.com.