Pheasants are among the world’s most beautiful birds. All but one of the approximately 49 species, and many more subspecies, of pheasants are native to Asia. They inhabit a variety of habitats, from the snowy Himalayas to the steamy jungles of Indonesia.

Pheasants have long been avicultural subjects. Egyptian pharaohs kept peafowl and Alexander the Great brought them to Greece some 2,500 years ago. It is reported that George Washington even kept Golden Pheasants at Mount Vernon. Their adaptability to aviculture is important in their survival. One species, the Edward’s Pheasant, was once believed to be extinct in the jungles of Vietnam, but there were sustainable populations in aviaries and re-introduction programs are now in place. The Cheer Pheasant from Pakistan and Swinhoe’s Pheasant from Taiwan are two species who have benefited from re-introductions of captive-bred birds. However, pheasants have also been one of the most mismanaged family of birds in captivity and the need for profit in American aviculture has lead to a number of hybrids, inbreeding issues, mutations and complete disappearances of species and subspecies. While mass production has been promoted in America for years, we must now realize that this is not an effective conservation tool and we need to establish a conservation breeding approach or we will lose these species.

This section is an introduction to the pheasants of the world and their captive management. Each species is described with natural history information, avicultural data, images, and web links. It is my hope that with this site people will become aware of the plight of these wonderful birds. It is highly recommended for the visitor to advance their knowledge by using the references and further readings recommended on the species sheets. These sheets are only an introduction and if a person is interested in pheasant aviculture, please read all available material and books before purchasing your birds.