Ring-necked Pheasant
(Phasianus colchicus)


Picture of bird
© Andrew A Reding - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

This native of Asia, first introduced to North America in the late 1800s, is now found across most of southern Canada from the east to the west coast. It prefers agricultural and wetland habitats, though the species shows marked flexibility to different habitat conditions (Giudice and Ratti 2001). The Breeding Bird Survey suggests that there has been little overall change in the Canadian population of Ring-necked Pheasant since about 1970. This species is a popular game bird across much of its range (Giudice and Ratti 2001). National population goals have not been established for this and other introduced species.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Not applicable2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeHighNot Applicable

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada50,000 - 500,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaNot Applicable

Conservation and management

This introduced species is known to be affected by pesticide use, general agricultural practices such as hayfield cutting and farming intensity, and hunting pressure (Giudice and Ratti 2001). Temperature, snow cover, and predator cycles are also known to affect local abundances of the species (Giudice and Ratti 2001). Widely raised in captivity, introductions have been widespread across southern Canada and much of the United States; current populations are at least partially sustained by ongoing introductions and by active habitat improvement practices (Giudice and Ratti 2001). For example, the naturalized population of pheasants in Ontario has continued to decline since the 1970s and is now considered to be practically extirpated. Birds detected in the wild in Ontario are almost exclusively pen-raised birds remaining from releases for hunting (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, pers. comm.).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type