What is the State Bird of South Dakota? All Facts Explained

State Bird of South Dakota

South Dakota has many natural lakes, great plains, and low mountains. Like the other states, South Dakota also has an official state animal and state bird. When it comes to the state animals, it is Coyote.

But what about the state bird?

The official state bird of South Dakota is the Ring-necked Pheasant which got this status in 1943. And In this article, I’ve explained all the facts related to South Dakota. 

Why did South Dakota choose the Ring-necked Pheasant as their state bird?

The residents of South Dakota chose this bird because of its beauty. The plumage of these birds is gold, orange, and yellow-spotted with black color.

The face of these birds is red and black which stands out in the fields of this state. When these birds were introduced to the state, the residents began hunting them, and they became their favorite gamefowl.  

When did the South Dakota name the ring-necked Pheasant as their state bird?

On February 13, 1943, the legislation of the South Dakota adopted the ring-necked Pheasant as their state bird. This state doesn’t share its state bird with any other state. 

What does the Ring-necked Pheasant look like?

The ring-necked Pheasant is three feet in length with a wingspan of about 22.1 to 33.9 inches. The weight of these birds is between 2 to 2.6 pounds.

They have a pointed and long tail. The female birds have sport feathers of brown. Sometimes these feathers turn buffy brown for the smaller songbirds of the south and the eastern US.

While the male birds have darker feathers and a white collar called a ring, these males have a red patch around their eyes and an iridescent blue-green head. 

How does the Ring-necked Pheasant behave?

The ring-necked pheasant chooses an upland habitat including farm fields, brush, hedgerows, woodland edges, and rangeland.

The nesting period of these birds is generally from May to June annually. The nest of these birds consists of a shallow ground depression, three inches deep and lined with weeds & grasses.

The bird places these nests on the ground but in dense coverage. The male bird attracts the female birds with his loud crowing and the female bird lays a clutch of seven to 14 eggs which she incubates alone. 

Many of the pheasant eggs don’t hatch as they either get destroyed by predators or by humans. When the eggs hatch, the young ones can leave the nest and care for themselves.

But it requires two weeks to learn to fly. They feed themselves while the female bird trains them in essential survival.

The young birds often perish and they have a high mortality rate. These birds learn to abruptly launch themselves into the sky and make a noisy take-off that can scare the predator. 

Generally, these birds run from dangerous situations and can cover the short quickly and considering them the 50-years winner of the avian world.

The female pheasants stay close to their home and can typically nest less than half a mile from their wintering range. They usually dislike areas of tall grasses and they come in handy when hiding the nest of eggs. 

Do the Ring-necked Pheasant form communities?

The ring-necked pheasants form segregated flocks during the fall and winter seasons. These groups are formed along the gender lines.

The males form the smaller groups remain in these flocks until the spring season. The male birds form harems similar to those formed by chickens with a rooster.

Each spring, the male bird defends his territory and his harem from rivals. This can lead to vicious battles.

These birds usually don’t have fatal fights but they can cause physical damage when two male birds fight with each other. 

The two male birds can bite one another’s necks, claw one another, peak each other, etc. These birds can stay in their own territory smartly and never leave it.

These pheasants usually prefer fields and farmlands but they can live in woodlands and wetlands. Females birds prefer to be best in fields.

During the spring and summer seasons, they roost in dense shrubs or trees. But during the fall season, they switch to weedy areas, forested wetlands, and farm fields.

During the early nesting season, these birds enjoy the grass cover along the ditches, wetlands, fence lines, and roadside. But when the vegetation grows taller, they switch their habitat again and prefer an area with hay. 

What do Ring-necked Pheasants eat?

The diet of the Ring-necked pheasants includes the omnivorous diet and they forage and scratch the ground with their feet or bill.

The diet of these birds consists of buds, earthworms, snails, insects, seeds, grains, roots, berries, acorns, frogs, snakes, mice, and larger prey.

The ring-necked pheasants live near a farm field and can be seen munching seeds from the fields. These birds can also eat roots, grasses, leaves, insects, wild fruits, beetles, caterpillars, and ants. 


The residents of the South Dakota chose the Ring-necked pheasant as their official state bird in 1943. This bird was chosen because of the plumage and its tasty meat.

These birds are omnivorous and can eat buds, earthworms, grains, roots, acorns, frogs, grasses, leaves, insects, and other food. 

At last, I hope this article might have helped you in some ways. Thank You For Reading!

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