Monday, April 2, 2012

Ring-necked Pheasant

On the way up to dry canyon we saw a beautiful bird and sadly this is what I got on my camera after taking a while to realize I even had my camera in the car, then getting it out and trying to get the bird before it ran away:


So, after a quick search online I found that there is only one species of pheasant that lives in Utah (I was pretty sure it was a pheasant of some type).  This is the ring-necked pheasant:


I am betting this guy up Dry Canyon was being hunted, because a minute later on the other side of the road we saw a man and a dog tracking along.  This also explains why the bird was laying low - running through the grass and trees instead of taking to the sky.

This species - Phasianus colchicus - was introduced from Asia to the United States as a game bird.  They live in open grasslands and cultivated farms.  They only live about 10 months for males and 20 months for females in the wild, but can live 6 or more years in captivity. Male birds like this one are brightly colored to help win a mate in courtship, but that is obviously a disadvantage as far as survival of the individual, with male life spans being half that of the females who are brown and blend in a lot better.

Female Ring-necked Pheasant - Source "On the Wing Photography"


 To learn more about this bird, visit Hogle Zoo's website: http://www.hoglezoo.org/meet_our_animals/animal_finder/Ring_necked_Pheasant.


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