Where Do Pheasants Sleep? (Explained)

by Chukay Alex
Updated on

Pheasants are wild birds even though they are gradually being brought into captivity and reared for their excellent meat and also as pets.

Out in the wild, pheasants love to sleep on perches high up in trees or in tall grasses. 

This behavior is heightened by the fact that pheasants are prey birds and are usually hunted by predators which include man.

They choose to roost in sheltered trees because this tends to offer them protection away from predators.

Today’s article will discuss where pheasants like to sleep, if they lay down to sleep, if they take naps and whether they sleep with their eyes open.

Where Do Pheasants Sleep?

Where Do Pheasants Sleep

Pheasants are birds that are not active at night and the choice of where they sleep at night is an important requirement for them.

For pheasants out in the wild, the first choice of where to sleep is in the perch of trees high away from the clutches of predators. 

Thi is an anti-predator choice as it gives them the advantage of getting as high away from predators as possible. Some pheasant predators include dogs, wolves, raccoons, foxes and even humans.

When pheasants feel threatened, they take to the sky to get away from the trouble as soon as possible. Pheasants alsi roost in trees as this provides them with shelter from the weather.

This behavior extends even into captivity, when building pheasant aviaries, there would usually be perches made from tree branches on which the pheasants can sleep.

Some of the pheasants choose the highest branch to roost at night.

Pheasants can and do also sleep on the ground in the wild. They seek out dense vegetation also for protection from the elements and predators.

They usually roost in cattails, tall grass, or low shrubs on the ground. 

In captivity, they can sleep on the ground which has been well laid with shavings or sawdust, and in cases where the flock keeper adds perches from tree branches, the birds are able to roost on the perches at night.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on pheasants sitting on their eggs

Do Pheasants Lay Down To Sleep?

When pheasants sleep on trees, they sleep perched up on trees with their leg muscles gripping the tree branch.

Like most birds, once a pheasant settles down to sleep, it will fluff out its down feathers, flip its head around, tuck its beak into its back feathers, and pull one leg up to its belly.

This helps to keep the pheasant warm and regulate its body temperature over the night. The short fluffy feathers beneath the sleek outer feathers, known as down feathers, trap heat. 

As the temperature drops for the night, the pheasant’s naked portions such as the beak and legs are tucked in to remain warm under the heavy blanket of feathers.

When sleeping or nesting on the ground, pheasants will sleep sitting down or crouching.

Do Pheasants Sleep In Trees?

Yes pheasants sleep in trees and out in the wild, that is their first choice.

Pheasants roost in the branches of trees that provide them with shelter against the weather and more especially from predators.

Trees are the first choice of pheasants when they think of where to sleep at night as it gives them protection from predators.

Most predators of pheasants such as foxes, racoons etc. are ground dwellers and by sleeping on trees, the pheasant is able to get a decent night’s sleep without having to worry about predators.

When they have to sleep on the ground, they choose dense vegetation with tall bushes which can help camouflage them from predators.

Do Pheasants Nest In Trees Or On The Ground?

Most species of pheasants tend to build their nests in the ground though some do nest on trees also.

Once it’s breeding season and a hen has found a suitable male to mate with, she begins to look for a good nesting ground to lay her eggs.

Most hens will choose to nest under a hedge or among tall grass  or a shallow depression in the ground. 

The hen of the common pheasant species tends to build their nests in scrapes on the ground, lined with grass and leaves, and often under heavy cover.

They can also nest in old nests left by other birds irrespective of the species.

Most pheasant hens are quite apprehensive of where they make their nests as they are vulnerable during the period of incubation.

They are solely responsible for the care and upbringing of their chicks. Their drab plumage also helps to camouflage them from predators as they can blend into the weeds and grasses.

The only responsibility the male cocks perform is to protect his harem of nests in their territory while they are nesting.

Also check out this article I wrote on why baby pheasants peck each other

How Many Hours Do Pheasants Sleep?

Most pheasants get about 10 to 12 hours of sleep at night if they can help it. Pheasants are usually active early in the morning and in the evening hours.

Most pheasants start shutting down once it’s dusk and you can hear the male pheasants crowing before sunrise.

Pheasants have their set pattern which they follow in the wild.

As a pheasant owner, it is quite important that you are accustomed to pheasants’ sleep patterns so you know how to handle them in captivity. 

It is best to leave the lights off at night so the pheasants can get a decent sleep and also provide them with an early dinner at the appropriate time.

Pheasants love to forage in the evenings so they can fill up their bellies before flying up to roost at night.

Why Do You Never See Birds At Night?

We do not see birds at night because most bird species are diurnal in nature. This means they are active during the day and sleep at night.

A few bird species like the owl, bat, frogmouth and nighthawks are nocturnal in nature and you see them during the course of the night.

Most birds are active before sunrise going about their daily activities, chirping, foraging and doing what birds do.

By dusk the birds are already going home to roost for the night.

Birds can sleep in different locations ranging from the top of trees, to hollows in the ground, on rooftops, in chimneys such as the chimney swifts and on or beside water like ducks and other waterfowl.

Most birds sleep in small snatches throughout the night and they choose locations which help to keep them safe throughout the night from predators. 

Some birds also sing at night as this is the best time to hear each other’s calls in the wild.

The silence at night enables them to call out to each other for mating purposes or to mark our territory. The mockingbird and warbler are birds which engage in night singing.

During migration season some birds will engage in night flying and will keep on flying even when it’s dark. 

Do Pheasants Take Naps?

Pheasants take naps during the day as well as their night time roosting. Just like you can sometimes get tired in the middle of the day and need a short nap, it is the same with pheasants too.

Most pheasants are more active early in the morning and towards the evening as this is when active feeding occurs, during the rest of the day they can spread out and find a shade to roost in.

To roost and take naps during the day, pheasants require a taller cover during the day to give insulation and protection from birds of prey.

This could be tall grasses, shrubs and short trees in which they are able to blend with. For them, it is ideal to have both day and night roosting sites close by.

Do Pheasants Sleep With Their Eyes Open? 

Pheasants like most birds sleep with their eyes closed however they can also sleep with one eye open and this is known as unihemispheric sleep. 

Unihemispheric sleep is when the pheasants sleep with an eye open and this ensures that they can sleep while also staying vigilant.

With unihemispheric sleep pheasants are able to sleep with one side of their brain and also wake up instantly if they feel any threat. 


Pheasants have their specific sleep patterns which are different from those of other birds. As a pheasant keeper it is quite important to understand this pattern as this will better help you care for your birds.

Pheasants love to sleep in trees as this gives them protection from predators, they nest in the ground and will also sleep in the ground if there is enough dense cover to protect them.

They can take short naps during the day as they are less active in the middle of the day. These pheasant facts will help you understand these amazing birds better.

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.


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox