We studied habitat selection in Chinese Grouse (Tetrastes sewerzowi) hens with dependent broods at Lianhuashan, Gansu, China in 2010–2012. We divided the dependent brood period into four stages (weeks 1–2, 3–4, 5–8, and beyond 8 weeks post hatching) and compared used with available habitat, and found that hens with broods chose sites with significantly less canopy cover (0.28 ± 0.01 vs 0.49 ± 0.02), greater willow cover (0.31 ± 0.02 vs 0.14 ± 0.01), and greater herb height (21.36 ± 1.05 vs 14.43 ± 0.59). Broods used a variety of vegetation types at different stages of chick development. They used more early successional deciduous forests and shrubs during stages 2 and 3 (weeks 3–8, Kruskal-Wallis Test: χ2 = 13.918, df = 3, P = 0.003). Sites with more invertebrates were used in Stage 1 compared to available sites (54.5 ± 7.2 vs 36.4 ± 4.4), but not in Stage 2. Compared to sites used during stage 4, chicks in stage 2–3 used sites of earlier successional stages, greater herbaceous vegetation height, and closer proximity to forest edges, whereas sites utilized during stage 1–3 showed visits in lower willow cover.
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Vol. 127 • No. 2