The ring-necked pheasant is a large, ground-nesting bird related to the partridge, quail, and grouse.
Ring-necked pheasants are native to central and eastern Asia, but were introduced across the United States for hunting purposes. They have good hearing and eyesight which makes them difficult to approach. They often run rather than fly to escape predators and humans, but will take to the air with a loud cackle when pressed hard or when they run into open areas that offer little concealment.
Look for these birds near wetlands and brushy streams bordering cultivated fields or grasslands. Also listen for the male's loud "cuck cuck" call, especially in spring, as these birds are often heard rather than seen.
Last updated: October 1, 2021