South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Ring-necked Pheasant

Phasianus colchicus

Length: 21 - 33 inches Wingspan: 28 - 34 inches Seasonality: Permanent Resident
ID Keys: Male distinctive, with red face wattles, white neck ring, colorful body

Ring-necked Pheasant - Phasianus colchicusThe state bird of South Dakota, and for good reason (economically anyway).  Ring-necked Pheasant hunting in the state is renowned, attracting thousands of out of state hunters and bringing millions of dollars of revenue into the state.  The Ring-necked Pheasant is an introduced species, native to Asia.  It was first introduced into the United States in 1857, and has become well established throughout much of the Midwest, the Plains states, and parts of the West.  The photo on the right shows a mature male and a female.

Habitat: Nearly all open upland habitat in the state, including farm fields, rangeland, brush, woodland edges, hedgerows. 

Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on grains, seeds, roots, berries, buds, acorns, insects, earthworms, snails, and occasionally mice, snakes, and frogs.

Behavior: Nearly always forages on the ground, often scratching on the ground with feet or bill to find food. 

Nesting: May through June.  The nest is a shallow depression lined with vegetative material such as grasses and weeds, placed on the ground in dense cover.  The female lays between 7 and 14 eggs, and she alone incubates them.  When the eggs hatch, the young leave the nest almost immediately, with the female tending to the young. The young feed themselves while under the female's care.

Song: Harsh croaking notes when alarmed.  Males make loud crowing khaaaa-cack. 

Migration: Permanent Resident

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Ring-necked Pheasant sightings

Similar Species: Males enerally distinctive.  Females could possibly be confused with Sharp-tailed Grouse or Greater Prairie Chicken.

Feeders: Ring-necked Pheasants will sometimes visit feeders for various seeds scattered on the ground.

Status: Abundant and widespread.  The IUCN lists the Ring-necked Pheasant as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Ring-necked Pheasant

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Ring-necked Pheasant"

3) Ring-necked Pheasant

Photo Information: February 16th, 2004 -- Near Presho -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Ring-necked Pheasant photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Ring-necked Pheasant - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Widespread and locally abundant.  Wild populations are often augmented with stocked birds to facilitate hunting.