Phasianus colchicus, or more commonly known as the Colchis pheasant, is a bird of the pheasant family. It is distributed in southeastern Europe, the Colchis region of Georgia, northeastern Azerbaijan, southern Armenia, and northwestern Iran. In the past it was widespread in our country. Until the early 1960s, when its last natural locality - near Elhovo - disappeared. Currently it is listed in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria as an endangered species.
The Colchis pheasant is recognisable by its long tail. The male specimen reaches a weight of 1.3 kg and a body length of 75 cm - 89 cm. The plumage is violet-green in colour with a metallic sheen and the tail is brown. The female is comparatively smaller and has much darker feather colouration. The Colchis pheasant is a ground bird but sometimes roosts in trees. It takes flight only when absolutely necessary.
The pheasant's diet is very varied and depends on the season. In autumn and winter it feeds mainly on seeds, wild plants, bulbs and green parts of plants. In spring and summer it feeds on strawberries, insects and green vegetation.
The Colchis pheasant forms pairs, but is also prone to polygamy. During the breeding season the male nests with the female. When the female begins to brood, he attracts another. Courtship is in March-April. As this period lasts about 2 months. If the weather is cool and rainy, the courtship period increases. The female lays 10 to 1 eggs. Two or three females may lay their eggs in one nest. The incubation period is 23-27 days.
Threats to the Colchis pheasant include fox, wildcat, dogs, cats, ferret, badger, hedgehog and larger raptors.
Colchis pheasant hunting is permitted from 1 October to 31 January.