Ring-necked Pheasant (male)
The Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus Linnaeus) is a chicken-like bird that arrived in North America from China in the 1800s and became established by the end of the 19th century. A critical requirement of ring-necked pheasants is a mixture of different habitats in close proximity to provide for all the foraging, nesting, brood-rearing, roosting, and escape cover. Hedgerows and fencerows along agricultural land provide protective cover as does the leeward side of willows. The combination of thickets and native grasses near agricultural land is very beneficial since pheasants consume seeds and grains. In Kansas, wheat stubble is particularly effective. Pheasant populations have declined in the face of intense fire control, chemical eradication of nesting and protective cover, over grazing, and mowing of vegetative buffers along highways. Consequently, it is not surprising that pheasant populations have responded to improved habitat provided by the USDA Conservation Reserve Program. For more information visit the websites for Pheasants Forever; and, Quail and Upland Wildlife.