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Pheasants, a native of China, are one of the most popular upland birds and are closely related to the Golden pheasant and the Sichuan pheasant. Pheasants typically eat small grains, but also eat soybeans, wheat, oats, insects and weed seeds.
Pheasants are a very popular upland bird and have proven itself capable of adapting easily to its North American surroundings. They are closely related to the golden pheasant and Sichuan pheasant and eat mostly small grains, preferring to nosh on corn, but also eating soybeans, wheat, oats, insects, and weed seeds. Its favorite insect is the grasshopper, primarily because of its high protein content, which is conducive to the rapid growth and high energy levels it requires.
There are many different types of pheasants, but one of the most popularly hunted Pheasants is the Ring-necked Pheasant. Ring-necks have a rather short life span, same as most upland game, usually living no more than two years. (In fact, more than 75% of all the birds killed by hunters in a season were hatched just the previous spring).
Pheasants are a decent size, with the cocks typically growing to 3 ft. in length and weighing as much as 3-lbs. Hens, on the other hand, are usually a full foot shorter, lengthwise, than the male and weigh almost a pound less.
Male ring-necks are easy to separate from female ring-necks due to their flashy colors and abundance of distinguishing features. The males have a big, copper-colored breast, a shiny metallic green-colored head, a red wattle around the eye, and perhaps their most easily identifiable characteristic, a bright white ring around the neck.
Hens are considerably less spectacular, visually, often being almost uniformly beige or cream-colored. They also have shorter tails than the males - the tail of the cock is often over 2 ft in length, covered with a pattern of black bars, while the female's is a good foot shorter than that.
Pheasants prefer to run even though they are able short-distance fliers. When they are startled they will burst upwards at great speed making a whirring wing sound. They will also give of a kok kok kok call to alert other birds.
Most Pheasants that are bagged in the United States are wild-born feral pheasants; however in some states captive-reared and released birds make up a large population of birds. Pheasants are seen as the premier upland game bird in the United States and provide significant amounts of revenue.