Mystery Bird: Ring-necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus

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[Mystery bird] Ring-necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus, photographed in Lyman County, South Dakota. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Terry Sohl, 1 February 2005 [larger view]

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Review all mystery birds to date.

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Ring-Necked Pheasant. MMMMMM tasty.

Ring-necked pheasant. Identifying characteristic: irritating status as South Dakota's state bird. How did a freaking non-native receive that designation?

Ring necked pheasant. I would see them in the prairies and farmlands when I was trapping for voles - prairie voles of course. My mom (who recently moved to Wisconsin from Memphis, Tn) saw one for the first time earlier this year adn she was completely mesmerized. They aren't native, but so common here in the States. We claim the bird as 'our own' now.

not defending the wisdom (or lack thereof) and reason for introducing pheasants to the USA, but people are not native to north america, either.

To give you an idea of the mentality of some (many?) in the state, and why this is the state bird...

This was taken near a "hunting preserve", where land is managed for game birds. 10 minutes prior to this shot, I passed a dead coyote, DUCT-TAPED, spread-eagle on a telephone pole on this land-owner's land. The "crime"? I'm sure it was because the coyote may kill a pheasant before a paying human client could kill that pheasant.

And, this is the same owner and land where a few years prior, he was convicted of killing Bald Eagles, Rough-legged hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, etc., for the same crime against "his" pheasants.

Lot of grouse and pheasants around the central part of the state, and winter birding is truly spectacular for raptors because of it, with the aforementioned species, as well as Golden Eagles, Snowy Owls, and Gyrfalcons. But given the attitudes of the land owners in the area, those same gorgeous birds put themselves at risk by making the migration to the region in the winter.

After living in SD for a number of years, I really came to enjoy coming upon Ring-necked Pheasants along the prairie roads. Once, on the day hunting season opened, I approached the outskirts of a small town and, from under an old house trailer, a Ring-necked pheasant was cautiously peeking out! I've always hoped he stayed under the trailer until the end of hunting season.

By Patricia Quyle (not verified) on 25 Sep 2009 #permalink

re. native vs. non-native... in the Americas usually we categorize species that occurred prior to European colonization (i.e. "pre-Columbian" circa 1492) as "native" and those introduced after as "non-native", therefore "people" who existed prior to this date would in fact have been considered "native" usually referred to as "indigenous peoples"... interestingly, in the UK the period normally considered for this distinction is the formation of the English Channel, sometime between 450,000 and 180,000 years ago...

Re. native vs. non-native again ... for areas like MN that were glaciated in the Wisconsin era, there have been people living in those areas nearly as long as there have been anything else living there. It does appear that there was a massive loss of fauna soon after the first humans arrived here, but species still extant in N.Am. have been dealing with humans for at least the last 12,000 years.

Which fact says nothing about their ability to deal with changes wrought since Europeans arrived.


Field markings: expression of complete stupidity, as also worn by the same species which live around my parents' house in Scotland. Seriously, I've seen birds kill themselves by flying into windows, but only a pheasant can kill itself by flying into a large, obvious wooden railing.

We hypothesised that they were bred that stupid, in order that they were slightly less intelligent than the toffs trying to shoot them :)

They're non-native in the UK too, and may be doing harm to the reptile population:…

Let's not forget the state bird of Rhode Island is the Rhode Island Red. Not all states recognize native species as their state bird.

By Darrell Lee (not verified) on 26 Sep 2009 #permalink

Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus colchicus, the pride of any dinner table properly cooked.
And as to recognise it, kind of the opposite, if you can't you are blind and deaf.

Interesting comment about people non been native...
Are your referring to the Europeans or those that had lived here for thousands of years?

By NonNativeAmerican (not verified) on 26 Sep 2009 #permalink