Turkeys vs Pheasants

Published On: May 15, 2014Categories: Mature Birds

Here in Wisconsin, we have entered into the spring turkey-hunting season. Hunters can register for weeks ranging anywhere from the beginning of April thru the end of May. This got us to thinking, how do turkeys and pheasants compare?

First, let us discuss the similarities. Both are classified in the same animal family, the Phasianidae. This family is the largest of the branch Galliformes, which is comprised of more than 150 different species. They are most prevalent in Europe and Asia. Here are some other facts regarding these two:

Sleeping Habits

Turkeys: Despite the fact that turkeys are commonly seen on the ground, during the night they can be found nesting in a tree. This keeps them from being underfoot of predators.

Pheasants: Their habitat tends to vary based on the seasons. During the warmer months, they too can be found in trees or shrubs. During the fall, they can be found in overgrown marshes or where vegetation has become denser. During the winter, they look for any type of grassy or wooded cover.


Turkeys: Wild Turkeys feed on nuts, seeds, fruits, and small insects.

Pheasants: A pheasant’s diet consists of grains, seeds, berries, insects and small animals.

Life Expectancy

Turkeys: On average, a turkey can survive in the wild for an average of 3-4 years before either being killed off by a predator dying of natural causes.

Pheasants: The lifespan of a pheasant in the wild is only 10-20 months.


Turkeys: Turkeys lay eggs on the ground. They lay between 4-17 eggs at a time.

Pheasants: It is common for wild pheasants to lay 12+ eggs.

With both pheasants and turkeys, the males do not take any part in the care of their young. This is left up to the female.


Turkeys: A turkey averages anywhere from 11lbs to 24lbs.

Pheasants: Pheasants are much smaller, averaging around 2 1/2lbs.

Here, we not only have the spring turkey hunting season, but we also have a fall season that begins in September and can run through as late as the end of December. With pheasant hunting, the season is much shorter, and falls between the middle of October and end of December. Both birds can create a fun hunting experience for all!

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