Pheasants are one of the most endangered groups of birds in the world.
A total of 27 species appear on the most recent Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) list, with 17 of these classified as CITIES I (Appendix I species are either rare or endangered). In the past 150 years, several pheasant species and subspecies have virtually disappeared with few birds left in the wild and limited breeding stock in captivity. Accurate evolutionary and taxonomic information is therefore essential for developing appropriate CITES classifications and for the management of threatened species.
In many countries pheasant species are hunted as game, and several species are threatened by this and other human activities such as illegal logging and habitat loss.
Pheasants are a group of large birds that are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism (visual physical differences between the sexes) , with males being highly ornate with bright colors and adornments such as wattles and long tails. Males are usually larger than the females, and have longer tails. Males play no part in rearing the young. Pheasants typically eat seeds and some insects.
There are 35 secies of pheasant in 11 different genera. The best-known is the Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) which is widespread throughout the world in introduced feral populations and in farm operations. Various other pheasant species are popular in aviaries, such as the Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus).
Also refer to: Peafowl
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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