Ring-Necked Pheasant

A pheasant rooster crows to attract a hen
Ring-Necked Pheasant

Introduced to the United States from Asia in 1881, ring-necked pheasants are one of the most popular upland game birds, such that it was named the state bird of South Dakota in 1943. In captivity, pheasants can easily live 11-18 years; in the wild, it’s a rare pheasant that reaches three years old. Between predation, hunting, and winter kill, the average lifespan is less than a full year. But a single hen will raise a clutch of 7-18 eggs each summer, not to mention—occasionally—lay eggs in other ground-nesting birds’ nests, so populations can recover quickly when conditions are right.