Phasianidae – Pheasants & grouse

A large family that includes popular gamebirds, habituating a wide variety of native ranges and are generally sedentary

This family is known for its ground-dwelling habits and is native to regions across Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, with many species having been introduced elsewhere.

Size and appearance within the Phasianidae family vary widely. Like the king quail, the smallest members measure a mere 12.5 centimeters (5 inches), while the Green peafowl, with its majestic train, can reach lengths up to 3 meters (10 feet). Weights span from as light as 500 grams in smaller species to up to 9.5 kilograms in larger birds like domestic turkeys and wild pheasants.

These birds are characterized by their strong, stocky build and relatively short wings, which are adapted for quick bursts of flight rather than long distances. Their legs are powerful, designed for running and scratching at the ground to uncover food. The diet of Phasianidae is omnivorous, including seeds, berries, leaves, insects, and small animals, depending on the species and available resources. This varied diet allows them to adapt to different environments and plays a role in seed dispersal and pest control.

Reproduction in Phasianidae involves the laying of a large clutch of eggs, typically in a simple ground nest. The female usually undertakes the incubation duties, although in some species, like the partridges, the male helps as well. The chicks of Phasianidae are precocial, meaning they are well-developed at hatching, with feathers and the ability to walk and feed themselves almost immediately.

Many species within the Phasianidae family have been introduced around the world for hunting and domestication purposes. Birds like the common pheasant and various quail species are prized as game birds, and their introduction into new habitats has often been for sport hunting.

In the wild, the lifespan of these birds can reach up to 8 years, with mortality often due to predation or hunting. In captivity, where they are protected from these threats, they can live considerably longer, sometimes reaching up to 30 years.