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† See also partridge, quail

Pheasants are a group of large birds in the order Galliformes. In many countries they are hunted as game.

Pheasant are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism, with males being highly ornate with bright colours and adornments such as wattles and long tails. They are usually larger than the females. Males play no part in rearing the young.

There are 35 species of pheasant in 11 different genera. The commonest is the Ringnecked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus torquatus) which is widespread throughout the world in the wild and in farm operations. Various other species are popular aviary animals, such as the Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus).

Pheasants by genus and species

  • Blood Pheasant (genus Ithaginis)
  • Cheer (genus Catreus)
  • Crested Argus (genus Rheinartia )
    • Crested Argus Pheasant , (R. ocellata)
  • Eared Pheasants (genus Crossoptilon )
  • Gallopheasants (genus Lophura)
    • Kalij Pheasant , (L. leucomelana)
    • Silver Pheasant , (L. nycthemera)
    • Imperial Pheasant , (L. imperialis)
    • Edward's Pheasant, (L. edwardsi)
    • Swinhoe Pheasant , (L. swinhoii)
    • Salvadori's Pheasant , (L. inornata)
    • Crestless Fireback Pheasant , (L. erythropthalma)
    • Crested Fireback Pheasant , (L. ignita)
    • Siamese Fireback , (L. diardi)
    • Bulwer's Wattled Pheasant , (L. bulweri)
  • Great Argus (genus Argusianus )
    • Great Argus Pheasant , (A. argus)
  • Koklass (genus Pucrasia)
  • Long-tailed Pheasants (genus Syrmaticus )
    • Reeve's Pheasant , (S. reevesi)
    • Elliot's Pheasant , (S. ellioti)
    • Bar-tailed Pheasant , (S. humiae)
    • Mikado Pheasant, (S. mikado)
    • Copper Pheasant , (S. soemmerringi)
  • Peacock Pheasants (genus Polyplectron )
    • Bronze-tailed Peacock Pheasant , (P. chalcurum)
    • Mountain Peacock Pheasant , (P. inopinatum)
    • Germain's Peacock Pheasant , (P. germaini)
    • Grey Peacock Pheasant (P. bicalcaratum)
    • Malaysian Peacock Pheasant, (P. malacense)
    • Bornean Peacock Pheasant , (P. schleiermacheri)
    • Palawan Peacock Pheasant , (P. emphanum)
  • Ruffed Pheasants (genus Chrysolophus)
  • True Pheasants (genus Phasianus)
    • Green Pheasant (P. versicolor)
    • Common Pheasant, (P. colchicus)
      • Pheasant (P.c. colchicus)
      • Ringnecked Pheasant (P.c. torquatus)


  • Beebe, William. 1918-22. A Monograph of the Pheasants. 1st edition in 4 volumes: H. F. Witherby, London. Reprint: 1990, Dover Publications.(4 volumes bound as 2). ISBN: 0-48-62657-9-X and ISBN: 0-48-626580-3. (This beautifully illustrated monograph by William Beebe is still considered to be the most important work on pheasants. It was updated with inclusion of some later discoveries, though with some of the technical details left out, and published as: Pheasants: Their Lives and Homes. 2 vols. 1926. Single volume edition: New York Zoological Society, 1936.)
  • Green-Armytage, Stephen. 2002. Extraordinary Pheasants.Harry N Abrams, Inc., New York. Books ISBN 0-81-091007-1.

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