The bird’s scientific name translates from Latin as "pheasant from Colchis" where colchicus is a further reference to the area on the Rioni River. This major Georgian river was called Phasis by the ancient Greeks and their term corresponding to the English "pheasant" is Phasianos ornis (Φασιανὸς ὂρνις) means exactly that: "bird of the river Phasis".
The birds are found in woodland, farmland, scrub, and wetlands. In its natural habitat the common pheasant lives in grassland near water with small copses of trees.
The pheasant was certainly known to the Romans and the bird was extensively introduced in many places across the Empire eventually becoming a naturalised member of the European fauna. As far as we can determine the bird was not known in the Roman province of Britannia having not been introduced that far West. Pheasants may have been naturalised in Great Britain around the 10th century AD, perhaps earlier, but seemingly disappeared from most of the isles in the early 17th century. It was rediscovered as a game bird in the 1830s having been ignored for many years.
Today the pheasant is a common sight in Britain's fields, woodland and, sadly for those struck by vehicles, its roads. If the risk of becoming roadkill is not enough, then the open season for pheasant shooting begins on October 1st...