Family Phasianidae (pheasants, grouses, turkeys, and partridges)

This is the largest family within the order Galliformes, with over 150 species. All members are ground-living birds (though some will roost in trees at night), and include game birds such as the pheasant, grouse, and turkey. Depending on classification, and research there are also several different subfamilies within this family: the Phasianinae, the Perdicinae, the Tetraonidae, and the Meleagrididae.

Wild turkeys grazing in a neighbor’s front yard.

While majority of the species can be found in the ‘Old World’ (Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia), there are several that are within the ‘New World’, with the best example being the wild turkey.

In terms of habitat-they can be found from the tundra in the north (the Ptarmigans) to the grasslands and forests. The greatest diversity can be found within Southeast Asia and Africa.

Since there is such a variety of species, their diets are equally varied. Members of the family have diets that range from seeds, leaves, fruits, tubers and roots to insects, grubs, and small reptiles. Though the chicks of most species will feed exclusively on insects for quite awhile, and adults will usually supplement their plant diet with some type of insect.

The members of the family that can be spotted within North America include:


Gray Partridge

Blue Grouse

Spruce Grouse

Willow Ptarmigan

Rock Ptarmigan

White-tailed Ptarmigan

Ring-necked Pheasant

Sharp-tailed Grouse

Greater Prairie Chicken

Lesser Prairie Chicken

Ruffed Grouse

Greater Sage Grouse

Wild Turkey

Photography goal(s) for this family include: getting a picture of each member that can be spotted within North America, and then getting at least one picture of a member on other continents.

Reference: and the Sibley Guide to Birds