1. (Science: ornithology) Any one of numerous species of large gallinaceous birds of the genus Phasianus, and many other genera of the family Phasianidae, found chiefly in asia.
The common, or english, pheasant (Phasianus Colchicus) is now found over most of temperate Europe, but was introduced from asia. The ring-necked pheasant (P. Torquatus) and the green pheasant (P. Versicolour) have been introduced into Oregon. The golden pheasant (Thaumalea picta) is one of the most beautiful species. The silver pheasant (Euplocamus nychthemerus) of china, and several related species from southern Asia, are very beautiful.
2. (Science: zoology) The ruffed grouse.
Various other birds are locally called pheasants, as the lyre bird, the leipoa, etc. Fireback pheasant. See Fireback. Gold, or golden, pheasant, a large and beautiful Australian parrakeet (Platycercus Adelaidensis). The male has the back black, the feathers margined with yellowish blue and scarlet, the quills deep blue, the wing coverts and cheeks light blue, the crown, sides of the neck, breast, and middle of the belly scarlet. Pheasant’s eye.
(Science: botany) The sheldrake. The hooded merganser.
Origin: OE. Fesant, fesaunt, OF. Faisant, faisan, F. Faisan, L. Phasianus, Gr. (sc) the Phasian bird, pheasant, fr. A river in Colchis or Pontus.