THE peaceful calm of an Oxfordshire meadow was disturbed when these two pheasants tried to kill each other over a harem of hens.

Rufus the pheasant, pictured being attacked, has ruled supreme over the field in Wootton, near Abingdon, for some years now, protecting his flock of female friends.

But a pretender to his title, Fred, pictured performing a vertical attack from above, challenged Rufus’ supremacy in a fearsome fight.

Former Oxford Mail photographer George Reszeter captured the whole thing on film.

He said: “All of a sudden this other pheasant came into Rufus’ territory and it was ferocious, it was vicious.

“There were feathers flying, blood on their beaks, they were really going at it.

“I have seen pheasant fights before, but this one went on and on.”

Before Mr Reszeter could see who won, the squabbling fowl tumbled into the undergrowth out of sight. But when he went back to the field of battle last night, Rufus was proudly crowing once again over his faithful flock.

Mr Reszeter said: “It looks like Rufus has retained his crown.”