The Common Pheasant, is a bird in the pheasantfamily (Phasianidae). It is native to Russia and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. In parts of its range, namely in places where none of its relatives occur such as in Europe (where it is naturalized), it is simply known as the "pheasant".
It is a well-known gamebird, among those of more than regional importance perhaps the most widespread and ancient one in the whole world. The Common Pheasant is one of the world's most hunted birds; it has been introduced for that purpose to many regions, and is also common on game farms where it is commercially bred. Ring-necked Pheasants in particular are commonly bred and were introduced to many parts of the world; the game farm stock, though no distinct breeds have been developed yet, can be considered semi-domesticated.
Body weight can range from 0.5 to 3 kg (1.1-6.6 lb), with males averaging 1.2 kg (2.6 lb) and females averaging 0.9 kg (2 lb).
The adult male Common Pheasant is 60–89 cm (24–35 in) in length with a long brown streaked black tail, accounting for almost 50 cm (20 in) of the total length. The body plumage is barred bright gold and brown plumage with green, purple and white markings. The head is bottle green with a small crest and distinctive red wattle.
The female (hen) is much less showy, with a duller mottled brown plumage all over and measuring 50–63 cm (20–25 in) long including a tail of around 20 cm (8 in). Juvenile birds have the appearance of the female with a shorter tail until young males begin to grow characteristic bright feathers on the breast, head and back at about 10 weeks after hatching.
The males are polygynous as is typical for many Phasianidae, and are often accompanied by a harem of several females. Common Pheasants nest on the ground, producing a clutch of around ten eggs over a two-three week period in April to June. The incubation period is about 23–26 days. The chicks stay near the hen for several weeks after hatching but grow quickly, resembling adults by only 15 weeks of age.