The Pheasant arrived in Wellington in 1842, more were bought over from Great Britain in the 1870s making them abundant. They are easily scared and will take off in rapid flight for only a short distance to find cover. The males are polygamous and mate with several hens. Two varieties in the Park: Chinese Ring-neck and the melanistic mutant.
Pheasants have no down feathers so do not like damp conditions. The male is unmistakable with its long tail, orange brown speckled body, bright red face with wattles and green head. The female is a drab brown colour. The melanistic form has green-black plumage. They have interbred in the park.
At the Park you will often see some at the top end of Twin Oak Drive, near the Western crater and in the paddocks on either side of the main gate in the mornings. The melanistic variety are often seen in the early morning or evenings around by Sorrento. They are common in the North Island but rarely found in the South Island.
They feed on berries, seed, green vegetation and large insects.
Pheasants have a loud crow 'kok-kok'. The loud wing beats are heard as they take flight.