Common Pheasant adult male (or cock) has rich chestnut plumage, with golden-brown, black and pale blue markings on body. The very long tail is golden-brown barred with black. The lower back varies from chestnut, to pale blue and purple.
Underparts are golden-chestnut with dark markings. Vent and undertail coverts are dark chestnut. Head and neck are deep green with dark blue iridescences. A greenish-grey glossy patch covers the top of the head, tapering to a point on the nape. We can see a white collar around the neck. Face shows red facial wattles and green tufted “ears”. The strong bill is whitish. Eyes are golden. Legs and feet are dark grey.
Female is smaller, with shorter tail and sandy colours. She has paler brown plumage, mottled dark brown and black.
Underparts are sandy white, slightly scaled on throat and breast with pale brown. Eyes are dull yellow. Bill is two tones, whitish and blackish.
Juvenile resembles adult female, but smaller, with shorter tail.
Length: M: 75-89 cm – F : 53-62 cm
Wingspan: 70-90 cm
Weight: M: 770-1990 g – F: 545-1450 g
In its native areas, Pheasant lives in open forests or meadows. But this opportunistic bird feeding on various seeds, fruits and insects is now well adapted to other habitats, such as cultivated areas.
It has stout bill and strong legs with four-toed clawed feet, adapted to scratch for food in the ground. Male may have spurs, used for dominance when they fight.
During courtship displays, male runs around each female with near wing trailing on the ground, twisting over its tail, and inflating its facial wattles in order to expose its finery. Once females start to incubate, male ignores them. But its colours attract the predators too, such as foxes and stoats, whereas female and young are protected by their dull plumage.
If it is alarmed, Pheasant prefers to run rather to fly from danger. It roosts in trees at night.
Pheasant frequents farmlands, open lands with shrubby cover, woodland edges, open woodlands, from lowlands to mountain foothills.
Calls and songs:
Pheasant male gives a crowing advertising call, a harsh, scraping “ko-KOK”, with head pointed upwards. It may perform at the same time a brief whir of wings in spring.
When suddenly flushed, both male and female utter a rapid, harsh “kuk-uk, kuk-uk, kuk-uk, kuk-uk”.
Methods of hunting permitted for use:
- ambush hunting,
- using hunting birds,
- using automatic trap,
- using hunting dogs
Permitted hunting tools:
Hunting fire smooth-bore long-barreled arms; hunting firearm with a rifled barrel of caliber no more than 8 mm 6.5 mm; hunting firearm combined weapons (smooth-bore and rifted gun), including with rebarreling and auxiliary rifled barrels of caliber no more than 6.5 mm; hunting pneumatic weapon with a muzzle energy of no more than 25 J; cold bladed hunting weapon. Hunting for quail, pheasant, and sage is allowed only with the use of hunting smooth-bore firearms. Hunting for pigeons, turtledoves using hunting firearms with a rifled barrel is not allowed.
The taste of pheasant grows richer and stronger as it ages. It’s a supple meat, with half the calories of chicken breast. It is the so-called ‘wild’ flavour that makes pheasant special, so heavy seasoning should not be used.
Cook pheasant in many of the same ways you would other fowl, such as roasting or stewing. Wild pheasant should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, pheasants weighing less than 5 pounds can be roasted. Cook in a shallow pan, covered with foil if needed to prevent excess browning, at 450 F for 1 to 2 hours. For birds weighing over 5 pounds, too much muscular tissue makes the birds most tender when braised or stewed. Cook in a slow cooker or Dutch oven on low heat in liquid broth or tomato sauce for 3 hours or more until the pheasant’s internal temperature reaches 160 F.