Open country, farms, scrubby wastes, open woods, edge, grassy steppes, desert oases, riverine thickets, and swamps.
Many subspecies have been described, the following are subspecies groups, sometimes treated as species.
Many introductions of mainly of colchicus and torquatus, or of mixed stocks. Introduced virtually worldwide.
The ring-necked pheasant largely inhabits grassland areas at the edge of stands of trees or hedges. The presence of dense grasses appears to be an important habitat attribute. Female birds often situate their nests in cover that provides partial to complete overhead concealment.
All pheasants are largely vegetarian, and the majority are adapted to seed eating. Individual birds often have definite preferences for particular types of food. Evidently such individuals form preferences for foods on the basis of form and colour, perhaps with the aid of tactile (touch) impressions, but with taste differences evidently of little significance. During the first few weeks of life pheasants consume a high incidence of insects. By the time the birds are adult, however, over 90 percent of the food intake comes from plant sources.
Courtship season for pheasants is a noisy and colourful time of year. It occurs in early spring and typically lasts for several weeks. During this time male pheasants show increased aggression toward one another and distribute themselves throughout the habitat range into relatively small territories within which they remain for the duration of the courtship season. During this time females move freely within the entire habitat range and encounter many males. Sexually mature males, upon seeing a female, will begin a series of mating displays. Tow characteristics of the male mating display are called waltzing and wing flapping. In the waltzing display the male presents on wing by lowering it as he advances past or around his partner. The wing-flapping courtship display involves the male holding the head and body in a vertical position while noisily flapping his wings in short repeated bursts. If the female is receptive to mating with a male she will assume a crouched posture as the male displays.
Females only respond to a small fraction of male courtship displays. During the courtship season females generally spend more time in the territories of males with bright plumage than in the territories of males with less brightly coloured plumage (including juvenile males). Nearly all-mature females mate during every breeding season. On the other hand, only a fraction of the males will successfully mate during a particular year.