Your guide to pheasants

A birdspotter’s guide to one of the most striking wild birds in the UK.

Where did pheasants originate and when did they arrive in the UK?

Pheasants are native to south-central America and south-east Asia. They were first recorded in the UK in medieval times.

How can you recognise them?

Pheasants’ feather colourings can vary from a soft green, brown or orange to a more exotic tint of pink and purple. The males have predominantly bronze, red and green plumage, while the females are more of a sandy brown.

A pheasant’s body length can measure anything from 53cm to 89cm, but their long tails can measure up to 20cm for females and an impressive 50cm for males.

Their long tails and relatively large size mark them out among ‘game’ birds; they are larger and longer in the tail than partridges.

Where and when can you see them?

Pheasants can be seen all year round and in all corners of the UK. The males’ distinctive call, a loud, croak-like noise, is a common feature of the British countryside.

You are likely to find them grazing on anything from seeds to small mammals. They roost in trees, each male mating with many females during breeding season and then leaving them to raise the chicks by themselves.

How can I help pheasants?

Up to 146,000 pheasants are shot every day during hunting season in the UK. For the sake of these magnificent birds, please consider contacting your MP today to express your concerns about ‘game’ bird shooting.

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