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Gamebirds

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Common pheasant - Phasianus colchicus

Common pheasant - Phasianus colchicus

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Gamebirds (Galliformes) are a group of birds that includes chickens, pheasants, quails, turkeys, grouse, currasows, guans chachalacas, guineafowl and megapodes. There are more than 250 living species of gamebirds. Some gamebirds have been subject to intense hunting pressure and are today on the brink of extinction. Other gamebirds such as chickens, quails and turkeys have been domesticated and number in the millions.

Gamebirds have rotund bodies and are excellent runners. Gamebirds have short, rounded wings that enable them to fly short distances of a couple hundred feet. This enables them to escape predators but does not allow them to fly long distances. Members of the group are therefore mostly terrestrial and few undergo long migrations.

The smallest species of gamebird is the Asian blue quail which measures just 5 inches head to tail. The largest of all gamebird species is the North American wild turkey which can be nearly 50 inches long and can weigh over 30 pounds.

Classification:

Animals > Chordates > Birds > Gamebirds

Gamebirds are divided into four groups:

  • Grouse and ptarmigan
  • Turkeys
  • Chachalacas
  • Pheaseants, partiridges and quail
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