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Pheasants in Ireland


The pheasant is one of Ireland's most distinctive birds. The attractive males are unmistakable with any other Irish bird. Although many people think of pheasants as a native indigenous bird, in fact they were introduced to Britain by the Normans and it is thought that they were introduced to Ireland in the 16th century. The pheasant originated in Asia and was introduced to Europe as game bird.

The pheasant is large bird with long legs and long barred tail. Male pheasants have a bottle green head, with red fleshy, and flashy, head sides. They also have an obvious white collar. The males are reddish brown and have a very long tail the upperparts of which are spotted white and finely marked underparts. Female pheasants are quite different and far less showy. They are buff-brown with spots on the flanks and fine angular markings on the upperparts. Females also have a long tail.

Irish Name for Pheasant

The Irish term for pheasant is Piasún.

Pheasant Feeding

As omnivores pheasants have a varied diet. They forage on the ground and sometimes in trees. A typical pheasant diet includes seeds, berries, grass, leaves, fruit, and invertebrates such as insects and worms.

Pheasants scratch around in the undergrowth for food and will also use their beaks to dig in the soil to a depth of 8 centimetres.

Pheasants Nesting

Pheasant eggs

A pheasant's nest is usually a hollow on the ground under a hedge or among tall grass. The male often accompanies several females, and will vigorously defend his territory and his hens from intruding males. Pheasant eggs, are about 45 mm by 36 mm in size, are smooth, non-glossy, and olive-brown. The female alone incubates the eggs and tends to the chicks. Young pheasants are precocial i.e. they are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of hatching.

Femail pheasant
Female Pheasant


Scientific Name: Phasianus colchicus



Irish Status:

Length: 74cm Wingspan: 80cm Weight:
M 1.4kg / F 0.98kg

Call: : Hoarse alarm call when the bird is flushed

Habitat: Farmland, scrub, wood

Diet: Omnivorous. Variety of foods from the ground including grain, seeds, green shoots and invertebrates.

April onwards
Breeding Age:
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):
Less than 1 year

Conservation Status in Ireland: GREEN


Pheasant Range in Ireland

The pheasant is a permanent resident and is widespread and common throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Pheasants in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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