New Zealand stock has been derived from various sub-species. They have repeatedly been introduced into New Zealand since 1842. Most of our birds resemble the ring–necked pheasant from China, torquartus, especially in having a broad white neck ring.

There are about 50 species of pheasants. Practically all of them are native to Central Asia, Ukraine, and China. They have been introduced and widely established in various areas. Romans brought pheasants into Europe. According to mythology Argonauts took them from the river Phasis in Colchis. Egyptian Pharaohs kept Pheasants and Alexander the Great brought them to Greece from Asia.

Sub Species: 

Other common names:  — 

Common pheasant, ring-necked pheasant.

Description:  — 

Introduced bird

Males 80 cm., 1400 g., females 60 cm., 1200 g., male rich orange and red, glossy dark green head, red facial wattles with white ring around neck; females pale brown mottled with dark brown.

Where to find:  — 

In the North Island they are common in northern and western districts but sparse in the South Island.

Poetry:  — 

ashibiki no
yamadori no o no
shidari o no
naganagashi yo o
hitori ka mo nemu

On a night as long
As the long, drooping tail on
The copper pheasant
Dwelling in the steep mountains,
Am I, too, meant to sleep alone?

— Kakinomoto Hitomaro,
    8th century

Credit for the photograph: — 

Illustration description: — 


Gould, John, Birds of Great Britain, 1862-73

Lewin, William, Birds of Great Britain, 1789.

Reference(s): — 


Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Page date & version: — 


Friday, 29 October, 2010; ver2009v1


©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.