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pheasant, noun

Origin:
English, AfrikaansShow more Transferred use of general English pheasant a name for any of several species of game birds of the genus Phasianus; probably influenced by Afrikaans fisant, used of the francolins.
a. Any of several species of game bird of the genus Francolinus of the Phasanidae. Cf. partridge.
Note:
There exists some confusion in the application of the names ‘pheasant’ and ‘partridge’ to francolins, the most common explanation being that those species with bare facial and neck parts are referred to as ‘pheasants’, whereas ‘partridge’ is used of birds with feathered heads and necks.
1785 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 153I found here two new species of the genus of tetrao, one of which is called partridge and the other pheasant: either sort being nearly of the size of our partridges.
1981 P. Dane Great Houses of Constantia 136I’d gone up into the mountain looking for pheasant.
b. With distinguishing epithet:
bush pheasant, some unknown francolin;
Cape pheasant, the rednecked francolin F. afer; red-necked partridge, see partridge sense b;
coast pheasant, the Natal francolin (see Natal sense c), Francolinus natalensis;
Natal pheasant, see Natal francolin (Natal sense c);
red pheasant, red-necked pheasant, see Cape pheasant.
1897 J.P. Fitzpatrick Outspan 34I was keeping an eye on the scrub on my side for the chance of a bush pheasant.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 395Red-necked pheasant, Pternistes nudicollis, not a common species; found in Pondoland and Natal.
Any of several species of game bird of the genus Francolinus of the Phasanidae.

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17851985