Pheasants are mostly associated with being on the ground, either running casually across roads or foraging in the countryside. But can pheasants fly like other birds? In this article, we'll go through and try and answer common questions about pheasants and their flight.
Yes, pheasants are capable of flying, but it's usually short, explosive and fast flights to flee from any threats and danger as a last-ditch attempt. The majority of the time, they prefer to simply run away on the ground from threats. Many pheasant species forage on the ground during the day and will fly and roost in trees during the night away from predators.
Pheasant in flight
Pheasants are only usually able to fly around 2km at only one time. This is because their flight is explosive and uses a lot of energy, which can't be sustained for long periods of time. They just don't have the same amount of endurance that other birds do when it comes to flying. Strong winds will aid the flight of pheasants and may mean they can fly for slightly longer.
The longest ever flight recorded for a pheasant was 6.5km over water, which is highly exceptional for these birds.
The average cruising speed for a pheasant in flight is between 38 and 48mph (61 - 77km/h). Whilst being chased, they can reach top speeds in flight of 60mph (96km/h).
This is much quicker than the 8 to 10 miles an hour they're capable of reaching whilst running.
A pair of male and female pheasants in flight
Because of their short explosive style of flight, pheasants generally don't fly at high altitudes and will mostly keep nearer to the ground than most species of birds.
It varies slightly across species, but generally young pheasants are capable of flying for short distances from 7 to 12 days of age. this is because the flight feathers develop before other feathers.