Temperature data loggers (TDL) are mostly used to monitor avian incubation behavior in bird studies. In this paper we demonstrate how TDL can also be used to determine different breeding stages and nest success of the vulnerable Emei Shan Liocichla (Liocichla omeiensis). All nests that contained at least one egg were divided into two groups. Group I included six nests monitored traditionally by the observers' visits, while Group II included eight nests monitored by TDL. Group I and Group II were visited every 1–4 days and 7 days, respectively, to check nest contents and status (e.g., active vs. inactive, and the breeding process) until fledging or nest failure. The time of each observation was recorded to verify the interpretation of TDL. The data recorded by TDL were converted into line graphs of temperature against time and assessed visually. The results indicated that TDL can reliably identify different breeding stages and estimate daily nest survival rates (DSR) and total nest success. The nest success of Group II (0.3015) was higher than that of Group I (0.2387), suggesting that deployment of TDL did not negatively influence nest survival rate of Emei Shan Liocichla. In contrast to traditional nest visits, TDL minimized disturbance by observers and provided a more precise estimate of nest survival. We suggest that TDL should be used more widely in studies of the breeding ecology of rare and endangered birds.
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Vol. 29 • No. 6