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1 September 2003 Incubation success of released hand-reared pheasants Phasianus colchicus compared with wild ones
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We investigated previously observed but unexplained differences in incubation success between wild and hand-reared common pheasants Phasianus colchicus. Hand-reared birds are widely released in late summer in Britain and elsewhere to supplement wild stocks for shooting purposes. We radio-tracked 53 wild and 35 previously released reared female pheasants occupying simultaneously the same areas on a game-keepered estate in eastern England between February and mid July 1999 and 2000. Predation of adult birds was comparatively low for both wild and reared birds, and overall survival did not differ between years or between groups. However, of 52 nests incubated by wild females 49% hatched, whereas of 30 nests incubated by reared pheasants only 22% hatched. Mayfield estimates of daily nest survival probability thus differed significantly between groups. However, predation of eggs was similar for both wild and reared birds. Instead the observed difference in hatch rates was due to nest abandonment, with more reared females (41%) deserting apparently unmolested nest sites than wild females (6%).

Rufus B. Sage, Ahti Putaala, Veronica Pradell-Ruiz, Tracy L. Greenall, Maureen I.A. Woodburn, and Roger A.H. Draycott "Incubation success of released hand-reared pheasants Phasianus colchicus compared with wild ones," Wildlife Biology 9(4), 179-184, (1 September 2003).
Received: 25 September 2002; Accepted: 11 February 2003; Published: 1 September 2003

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