Do Pheasants Hibernate? (Explained)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

In the human universe, hibernation may appear impossible. However, creatures that hibernate are quite common in the animal kingdom. 

Surprisingly, they do this to survive the winter, when the temperature is visibly frigid. 

The animal’s body temperature, heat rate, and respiration rate all drop dramatically during hibernation. 

Snakes, bats, mice, lemurs, and ground squirrels, are examples of animals that hibernate.  

However, do pheasants, go into hibernation? Let’s have a look. 

Do Pheasants Hibernate

Do Pheasants Hibernate

No, pheasants do not hibernate. These birds are active throughout the winter season. This isn’t surprising as most birds do not hibernate. 

However, food becomes scarce during winter. Surprisingly, they can spend up to two weeks without eating amid intense winter weather.

How is this possible? Pheasants have a means of lowering their metabolic rate and energy needs. As a result, they may go for lengthy periods without eating.

Interested in learning more about what pheasants do when other animals hibernate? Then, keep reading. 

What Is Hibernation And Why Do Birds Hibernate 

Hibernation is merely an extended period of being inactive during the winter season. This is something that animals do in the winter.

It can also refer to any dormant state, especially for the sake of rest. 

Hibernation is known to occur in animals such as squirrels, bears, rats, and the majority of rattlesnakes. 

It’s important to understand, though, that hibernation isn’t the same as sleeping. This is usually a fundamental misunderstanding. 

Most persons believe that hibernation implies sleeping for a long time. In reality, this is not feasible. I mean, who can sleep for that long? However, this is not the case.

Hibernation is nothing more than a way to save energy. It’s a peaceful feeling of relaxation.

However, that doesn’t mean that animals that hibernate are conscious. Well, they aren’t. 

Hibernation is typically thought of as a seasonal occurrence. It isn’t, however, limited to the winter months.

During the summer, several animals hibernate to keep cool. 

Hibernation causes their body temperature to drop by 5 to 10 degrees Celsius on average.

Some animals hibernate due to a lack of nourishment. 

Birds, on the other hand, are not known to hibernate. Only one bird has been recorded to hibernate in history. And, that is the “common poorwill.” This bird, on the other hand, does not truly hibernate. Torpor is what it does. 

Torpor is a state that is quite similar to hibernation. It’s a condition in which the body’s functions are slowed. This saves both energy and heat. 

It is not, however, as severe as hibernation. It only lasts a few hours or during the night. It may persist several days or weeks in some circumstances. 

Torpor is used by birds in adverse winter conditions to survive lengthy winter nights or strong storms.

Birds, for example, use this to lower their body temperature, as well as their heart, respiratory, and metabolic rates. 

However, this practice may endanger birds. Torpid birds’ reflexes and responses abilities are also hampered at this time since their metabolic functions are impeded.

They also become more vulnerable to predators as a result of this. 

Having said that, this is not a common practice among birds. And you will not find birds engaging in them, except for the common poorwill bird.

Birds adjust to cold in a variety of ways. And they can withstand the cold. 

The loss of food source when it is buried by snow or ice is likely what may kill them at this time.

Related: Check out this article I wrote on feeding pheasants with bread

How Do Pheasants Prepare For Hibernation 

During the fall, pheasants begin to prepare for the winter. They store energy in the form of fat in their bodies.

This is to help you stay strong on days when you don’t have any food. As food is usually scarce throughout the winter. 

When the fat reserves are finished, and the pheasants are unable to locate enough food to generate body heat, they consume their muscular tissues.

Where Do Pheasants Go In The Winter Time 

During the winter, pheasants can be seen in densely forested areas. They frequently ascend that high to avoid being eaten by ground predators, such as foxes.

This is because it is difficult for them to get away from predators in the snow. 

The birds have more freedom in the fall and summer because they can see predators and flee from danger. 

However, pheasants are rarely hunted by predators during the winter. Predators will postpone hunting till the weather improves. 

Humans are the most likely predators to attack at this time. If you’re hunting pheasants during this season, you have to walk slow and gently.

Pheasants are excellent hiders. You might stroll right past them without noticing. 

Pheasants can also be found in dry areas, under thick trees or branches. They would most likely spend their time out of harsh conditions during winter.

What Do Pheasants Do When It’s Cold

Since pheasants thrive in the cold, they continue about their business as usual. 

They, on the other hand, cling to their selected cover. 

Pheasants aren’t particularly cold. They can survive freezing conditions. They do, however, require very little shelter. 

Pheasants can only fly 70 yards when it’s freezing outside. They’ll then retreat to the earth for safety. 

In most circumstances, they’d fly 20 yards, land, and dash for cover. This is usually done to save energy and keep themselves warm.

Also check out this article on feeding pheasants with bananas

Do pheasants get cold? 

Of course, pheasants get cold. And that’s why they need to be properly shielded in cold weather.

During chilly weather, a wild pheasant would likewise seek shelter.

Nonetheless, pheasants do quite well in the winter. They adapt to the weather change physiologically and behaviorally.

We wouldn’t be out of place if we said these birds are winter-friendly, would we? Well of course not.

They must, however, be provided with enough food, water, and shelter. To survive in harsh winter conditions, pheasants must expend 25% more energy.

There’s no need to be concerned; the coming of snow does not imply the loss of your birds. 

Pheasants require more energy to stay warm when the temperature drops. They will need to boost their food consumption to achieve this.  

Pheasants, however, thrive in warm temperatures. During their breeding season, moderate weather conditions are best for pheasants. 

Rainfall is ideal during the nesting season. It determines the success of nesting. Rain also promotes the growth of plants. It also provides nesting coverings for them pheasants.

Interestingly, the more rain there is, the more food there is for pheasants. Birds, in particular, have access to insects at this time.

Heavy rain, on the other hand, might be hazardous to their nest. It is capable of dispersing its nests before the eggs hatch. Young pheasants can drown in a flood case. 

What Do Pheasants Eat In Winter

Pheasants eat more seeds during the winter. Cereal crops, berries, leaves, and insects are also present during the winter season. 

However, as previously stated, pheasants normally have large fat reserves and can go for days without food.

This is because feeding grounds are frequently covered by deep snow throughout the winter. And this in turn makes food supply scares. 

Pheasants, therefore, literally fast for days they may find no food. 

You could be wondering whether they won’t die. Well, here’s the deal: 

Birds are not known to perish from starvation. Well, unless they are exposed to extremely harsh weather for an extended period. And this hasn’t happened in at least the last two decades. 

Pheasants are also known to use communal roots during the winter. What exactly does this mean?

Pheasants usually prefer a dense tree to nest in. 

They approach it and then fly back up into the branches, making a racket until they reach a safe height. They do this to stay safe from ground predators.


Hibernation is a kind of inactive or dormant state. It is practiced by both plants and animals. Humans however do not hibernate.

Hibernation is usually done to get rest. Animals do this to preserve energy. Although it is most common during the winter, this behavior is not only exclusive during the winter. Some animals do this during summer as well.

Birds, however, do not hibernate. The only bird recorded to hibernate is the common poorwill.

Though, what this bird does is called Torpor. This is quite similar to hibernation. However, it is not as extreme as hibernation.

Although pheasants do get cold, they do pretty well in cold weather. And, since food is scarce during winter, they can go days without food.

This is however common to birds generally.

During this time, you’d find pheasants in dense trees. And they feed more on seeds, leaves, cereal crops, and insects.

Photo of author

About the author

Chukay Alex

Chukay is a season writer and farmer who enjoys farming and growing plants in his backyard farm. When he is not farming you can find him at the nearest lawn tennis court, hitting a mean backhand down the line.


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