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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Conservation > Conservation Practices > Pheasant Habitat

Conservation Practices
Minnesota Conservation Funding Guide

Pheasant Habitat

Ring-necked pheasant in winter habitat. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS
Ring-necked pheasant in winter habitat. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS

Pheasant habitat restoration and management attracts and supports healthy pheasant populations by ensuring adequate food, water and cover. The ring-necked pheasant is one of Minnesota's most popular game birds. It looks somewhat chicken-like, with colorful markings and a long tail.

Essential features of pheasant habitat include protective cover during nesting, brood-rearing and winter and food availability in winter. Nesting cover, however, is perhaps the single most important feature to ensure survival. Nest success is significantly improved in blocks of undisturbed grassland habitat at least 40 acres in size.

In addition to blocks of grassland, prime pheasant habitat may include some wetlands and wooded areas. Habitat that is good for pheasants also benefits other grassland-dependent birds, such as prairie chickens.

Similar & related practices

  • Many types of grassland practices can provide pheasant habitat if designed and managed with pheasants in mind—including whole fields as well as conservation buffers, such as field borders. While larger blocks are preferable for pheasant habitat, linear buffers can help support habitat at the landscape scale. Buffers should be wide enough to prevent pheasants and nests from becoming easy prey for other wildlife.
  • Wildlife food plots can be an important feature of pheasant habitat.
  • Wooded areas such as woodlots and shelterbelts can increase winter food availability and protect nearby wildlife food plots. However, wooded areas may do more harm than good for pheasants if not well designed and positioned.
  • Cropland management practices such as conservation tillage can help increase food availability for pheasants by leaving waste grain and crop stubble for food, as well as reducing downwind drifting of snow into winter cover areas.
  • Other similar or related practices include grass planting, grassland management, controlled burning and rare & declining habitat.
  • Other specific types of habitat practices covered in this Conservation Funding Guide include duck nesting habitat and stream habitat.

More information

Guidance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service & Farm Service Agency

Other resources

Pheasants Forever

    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources


      See also Rare & Declining Habitat and General Habitat resources.


      See contacts for specific programs that fund this practice in the side-by-side payment comparison or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District