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South Dakota State Bird – Ring-necked Pheasant

TheRing-necked Pheasant - Phasianus colchicus - is native to Georgia and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. In most parts of the world it can be considered semi-domesticated. It is the state bird of South Dakota.


The adult male has a red bare face, iridescent green head with lighter tufts above and behind eyes.  A white ring around neck and a maroon breast. Flanks tending toward orange. The tail is long and pointed, brown with dark barring. Rump is gray and there is a spur halfway up leg. The female is mottled brown with small black spots on back. She has a long, pointed tail which is brown with black barring. Juvenile birds have the appearance of the female with a shorter tail.


The male crows with a loud, harsh "koork-KOK."


They feed solely on the ground but roost in sheltered trees at night. They eat a wide variety of animal and vegetable type-food, like fruit, seeds and leaves as well as a wide range of invertebrates.


The males are polygynous and are often accompanied by a harem of several females. They nest on the ground, producing a clutch of around ten eggs in April to June. The incubation period is between 23 to 26 days. The chicks resemble the adults around 15 weeks.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

The first successful introduction of Ring-necked Pheasants into the Pacific Northwest took place in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in 1881. Two years later, the first pheasants were introduced in Washington, in the southeastern portion of the state. The conversion of shrub-steppe habitat to agriculture originally benefited pheasants, but the farming practices used since the 1980's include harvesting during the nesting season and the removal of cover that the birds require. In North America populations declining, probably because of changes in farming practices.


This pheasant is established over much of the continent, especially in agricultural lands cultivated lands interspersed with grass ditches, hedges, marshes, woodland borders, and brushy groves.

South Dakota Hotspots

Sand Lake NWR

Adams Nature Area,

Lacreek NWR

Huron Wetland Management District

Karl E. Mundt NWR

Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge and Wetland Management District

Madison Wetland Management District

Waubay NWR

Samuel H. Ordway, Jr. Memorial Preserve

Clovis Nature Preserve

Hanson Nature Preserve

Altamont Prairie

Crystal Springs

Aurora Prairie

Sioux Prairie

Wilson Savannah

Vermillion Prairie

E.M & Ida Young Nature Preserve 

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