Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) Phasianidae

No Data Available
Specimen courtesy of the Slater Museum
Photo by Robert Niese

Pheasants are native to Asia, but they have been introduced by European hunters to nearly every continent as a game bird. Here in North America, they have done particularly well and stable populations can be found throughout the plains and northern states and Canada. In spite of being considered a pest in much of their range, the males have strikingly ornate plumage and they are loved by millions (they even have their own advocacy organization!).

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) wings, Picidae

No Data Available
Specimens courtesy of the Slater Museum
Photo by Robert Niese

Northern Flickers occur in two color morphs across the US. In the west, they are predominantly “red-shafted,” while in the east they are predominantly “yellow-shafted.” Here in western Montana, we have mostly red-shafted, but there are a few areas that are chock-full of “orange-shafted” hybrids (the wing in the upper right is a hybrid). There are extensive hybrid zones throughout BC and AB as well.

Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) wing, Corvidae

No Data Available
Specimen courtesy of the Slater Museum
Photo by Robert Niese

The wings of Black-billed Magpies are quite striking. The deep black feathers covering most of their bodies are actually startlingly iridescent and starkly contrast with the white windows on their outer wing feathers. This contrast could be utilized as a form of visual communication during flight.