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.