General Question

crisw's avatar

Does anyone know what a hen ringneck pheasant sounds like?

Asked by crisw (14120points) April 14th, 2009

I live in San Diego County, CA. Today I heard a bird, hidden in thick chaparral, clucking like a chicken. I couldn’t see it at all. It was a series of four clucks, silence, then four more clucks. It was a bit higher-pitched and more rapid than a chicken. Definitely a gallinaceous bird of some type; but certainly not a California quail, our only resident Galliformes here.

I’m guessing it was a hen ringneck pheasant. The so-called “state wildlife refuge” down the road from us a bit annually dumps out a few hundred pheasants for kids to shoot, and a few escapees have made it to our place before- but all the ones I’ve seen and heard in the past have been cocks. I can’t find any online hen pheasant recordings. Can anyone point me to one, or confirm the sound a hen pheasant makes?

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12 Answers

cookieman's avatar

Maybe it was a henway.

crisw's avatar


I checked all the Google sites I could find- a few had cock crows, but no hen pheasant noises. Someone out there must be from Kansas or somewhere they have a zillion pheasants…hey, maybe I’ll ask Dutchess!

crisw's avatar

Huh? I don’t get the joke, if that was the intent.

YARNLADY's avatar

@crisw I clicked on the very first site on the list and found a description and even a recording of the sound. What browser are you using?

cookieman's avatar

@crisw: Sorry, it’s an old joke. You say, ” what’s a henway?” and I say, “about two pounds,”


crisw's avatar


That’s a cock pheasant, not a hen.

crisw's avatar

Riiiiight :>) I had heard that joke, now that you mention it :>D

crisw's avatar

Hmm, I’d forgotten about the Macaulay Library. Went there and found a couple of dozen pheasant recordings. This one seems to be a hen- and it’s not quite what I heard. Now I have a real mystery on my hands!

Dutchess12's avatar

CRIS!! The only close-up experience with a pheasant I’ve had was when my college BF took me on a romantic date hunting with him and his friend! And he shot a pheasant, and tole me I had to fetch the bird back to camp! So I fetched the bird…and was sooo totally heart broken by the death of this beautiful, beautiful bird…I fetched it back to camp cradled in my arms like a baby, stroking his beautiful iridescent feathers, marveling at the depth and brilliance of the colors….with tears streaming down my cheeks because he was dead….my bf kind of laughed at me when I showed up carrying the pheasant that way, saying, snort you’re supposed to carry him upside down by his feet. I turned a tear stained, furious face toward him and he shut up right quick and never….took me hunting again! Anyway! Let me check with Rick….

Rick says it was a rattlesnake ya heard…..

Actually, the thing about pheasants is along with their “song” they beat their wings against their hollow chest making a booming sound…but I don’t know if hens do that. Rick said maybe it’s a Prairie Chicken? Here’s a link I found….maybe it was the extinct Heath Hen, which was a distinct subspecies of the Greater Prairie Chicken? (Thought you’d like that!) Is there anything is this song that was similar…?
I don’t know if this is of any help, but I will sure be listening to my bird sounds when we go camping now!! I’ll get back to you some day…
(Great classic question, BTW! :)

Dutchess12's avatar

Dang it girl! You got me going…OK…I have little to no knowledge of farm life, but I double checked with Rick and farm chickens cluck in increments like you described when they’re laying….so….I’ll bet it was a layin’ hen you heard….

OR….it was a smoker. You know, the chicken wanted to do a full rottle (my grandson’s word for “Full throttle”) holla, but he kept running out of breath.

OR….it WAS a rattlesnake!

—thank you so much! I dropped in for a sec to ask a technical question, found this unknown to Rick who was watching TV in the next room thinking I was working on his expense report. Suddenly, out of the blue there are bird calls of all kinds floating out of this room, as I googled like a banshee. Rick hollers, “What all that noise! Sounds like birds are taking over the dining room (where the computer is now)!!”
He doesn’t go, “WHAT??? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND??? WHY do you HAVE to find a Ringneck pheasant Hen sound???” but instead immediately understands my insane behavior from previous past insane behavior and yells, “I THOUGHT WIS.DM WAS DEAD!!”
I go…“Wull….CrisW is on Fluther!!!!”
He says, “Oh.” And understanding instantly, willingly helps me on my search….”)—

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