Africa, Asia = Rion River, Georgia.
Sometimes considered conspecific with P. versicolor, which is then relegated to subspecies level; the two are not now, however, generally regarded as conspecific, because present species, when introduced to Japan, is apparently unable to survive, presumably owing to competition with P. versicolor, and failure to hybridize successfully; nevertheless, they hybridize extensively where both introduced in Hawaii. Internal taxonomy of species requires comprehensive revision. Populations of E Asia sometimes considered to constitute a separate species, P. torquatus. Races currently accepted can be split into five or six groups, which may be a better guide to geographical variation. Geographically and morphologically outlying taxa, such as tarimensis, mongolicus and formosanus, appear to be particularly distinct. One recent phylogeographical study of this species in China, however, did not support the constitution of these groups, suggesting instead that the divergence of this pheasant in the late Pleistocene may have resulted from three events (uplift of Qinghai–Tibet Plateau; existence of Qinling Mts and Liupan Mts; isolation of Sichuan Basin)#R; further research clearly required. Birds on islands in Aral Sea sometimes separated as race bergii, but considered indistinguishable from turcestanicus; latter includes also triznae and kvaskovskii. Of numerous other proposed races, lorenzi and europaeus (latter based on introduced birds) synonymized with nominate; bogdanowi and komarowii with principalis; gordius, medius and tschardjuensis with zarudnyi; michailowskii and jabae with bianchii; dorandti and oxianus with chrysomelas; tarnowskii and klossovskii with zerafschanicus; semitorquatus and brandti with mongolicus; gmelini and hemptinnii with torquatus; alpherakyi and ussuriensis with pallasi; pewzowi and schensinensis with kiangsuensis; holdereri, berezowskyi and chonensis with strauchi; and sladeni with elegans. Thirty subspecies currently recognized.
Various races introduced into many different countries, especially in Europe, North America, West Indies, Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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