ETYM Old Eng. fesant, fesaunt, Old Fren. faisant, faisan, French faisan, Latin phasianus.
Any of various large, colorful Asiatic fowls of the family Phasianidae, which also includes grouse, quail, and turkey. The plumage of the male Eurasian ring-necked or common pheasant Phasianus colchicus is richly tinted with brownish-green, yellow, and red markings, but the female is a camouflaged brownish color. The nest is made on the ground. The male is polygamous.
According to legend, the Eurasian common pheasant was introduced from Asia to Europe by the Argonauts, who brought it from the banks of the river Phasis. It has also been introduced to North America.
Among the more exotically beautiful pheasants of other genera, often kept as ornamental birds, are the golden pheasant Chrysolophus pictus from China and the argus pheasant Argusianus argus of Malaysia, which has metallic spots or “eyes” on the wings.
1. Large long-tailed gallinaceous bird native to the Old World but introduced elsewhere.
2. (Game bird) Flesh of a pheasant; usually braised.
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