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a family of birds of the order Galliformes. Unlike members of the related family Tetraonidae, the Phasianidae have bare tarsometatarsi, which in males of some species have a sharp spur. They lack a horny covering on the digits and feathers over the nostrils. The family comprises 165 species, including the quail, partridge, black partridge, snow pheasant, jungle fowl, pheasant, argus pheasant, and peacock. The Phasianidae are found in Europe, Asia, and America, except the polar regions, and in Africa. There are 13 species in the USSR: the common quail, the quail Coturnix japonicus, the chukar partridge, Bon-ham’s partridge, the Hungarian partridge, the bearded partridge, five species of snow pheasant, the black partridge, and the pheasant.
The Phasianidae inhabit steppes, meadows, rocky cliffs, shrub thickets, and forests, in both mountainous areas and plains. Most lead a sedentary way of life, except for local movements, while a few, such as the quail, are migratory. Most species nest on the ground; only the forest-dwelling trogopan nests in trees, in the abandoned nests of crows and other birds. The clutch contains two to 20 eggs. In some species the female incubates the eggs and cares for the young, while in other species the male shares these duties. The birds feed on shoots, seeds, and tubers, as well as insects and other invertebrates.
Many Phasianidae are game birds. Some have been of great importance to man: the jungle fowl is the ancestor of domestic fowl, peacocks have been domesticated, pheasant are raised for hunting, and quail are raised on special farms.
REFERENCEZhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 5. Moscow, 1970.
A. I. IVANOV