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Pheasants - Species Of Pheasants

introduced bird ring chicken

By far, the most familiar pheasant to the largest number of people is the red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus), a wild species of tropical forests in South and Southeastern Asia. However, domesticated varieties of this bird are commonly known as the chicken. This bird has been domesticated for thousands of years, and today an estimated 10-11 billion occur in agriculture. In fact, the chicken is probably the world's most abundant bird, albeit mostly in cultivation.

Other than the chicken, the most familiar species of pheasant is the ring-necked or versicolor pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), a species native to Europe and Asia. This species has been introduced as a gamebird to many places beyond its natural range. For example, feral populations of ring-necked pheasants occur in many places in temperate regions of North America, as well as in Australia, Africa, and elsewhere. The ring-necked pheasant is now the world's most widely distributed gamebird.

The Japanese pheasant (Phasianus versicolor) is native to Japan, but has been introduced to Europe and elsewhere as a gamebird.

The Lady Amherst's pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae) is native to Tibet and Burma. This species has a white-and-black extensible neck cape, consisting of a ruff of long feathers on the back of the head, that during courtship displays can be extended into an almost semi-circular, downward-hanging fan. The golden pheasant (C. pictus) has a similar neck cape, but it is colored gold-and-black. Both of these birds maintain small, feral populations in England and in other places where they have been introduced.

Many people consider the most spectacular species of pheasant to be the argus pheasant (Argusianus argus) of peninsular Malaya, Borneo, and Sumatra. In this species, the tail is more than twice as long as the body proper, and can be fanned widely in the manner of a peafowl.


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