In contrast to the management of European pheasants (Phasianus spp.), the spatial dynamics and habitat selection of breeding male ring-necked pheasants (P. colchicus) have received little attention in North America. To evaluate these parameters, I radiomarked 95 male pheasants over 5 years (1997–2001) on 2 study areas in eastern South Dakota. In spring 73% of radiomarked pheasants dispersed and moved an average of 3.2±0.3 km (SE) from wintering sites. Home range sizes of breeding male pheasants were bimodally distributed. One group of male pheasants exhibited localized movements and had relatively small (18.4±0.9 ha) home ranges, whereas a second group was intermittently sedentary and mobile and had relatively large (45.4±2.9 ha) home ranges. Males preferred to establish breeding home ranges in association with idled herbaceous and woody cover. The proportional abundance of woody cover decreased the size of male home ranges, whereas higher proportions of cropland resulted in larger pheasant home ranges. Within home ranges male pheasants preferred woody cover to other available habitats. While subjugated males assumed sedentary, submissive roles in Europe, in South Dakota males sought unoccupied spaces on landscapes to establish territories. Complexes of idled herbaceous and woody cover will maximize the capacity of landscapes to support male pheasant territories.
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