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Habitat selection and use by a hybrid of white and Tibetan eared pheasants in eastern Tibet during the post-incubation period

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Abstract:

We investigated habitat selection and use by a recently discovered hybrid of the white eared pheasant (Crossoptilon crossoptilon) and Tibetan eared pheasant (Crossoptilon harmani) in the forests of eastern Tibet (93°39'E, 32°24'N) during the post-incubation period in 1995. The frequency of encountering molted feathers was used as an indicator of the relative abundance of eared pheasants in order to analyze patterns of habitat selection and use. Forests on south-facing slopes, dominated by the hollyleaf-like oak (Quercus aquifolioides) and Tibetan juniper (Sabina tibetica), were the habitats preferred by eared pheasants. North-facing slopes with coniferous forest, which is the most preferred habitat of eared pheasant species in other areas, were completely avoided, probably because moisture-heat conditions there are beyond the birds' physiological tolerance. We conclude that climatic conditions are the main determinant of macrohabitat selection by eared pheasant species. In preferred habitats, oak and juniper woodland accounted for a larger proportion of home ranges of family flocks. Daily movements of a flock might cover a large altitudinal range, from the base of the mountain to the area above tree line, with an apparent preference for sites that can be used for foraging and dusting.

Nous avons étudié le choix et l'utilisation de l'habitat par un hybride découvert récemment entre le Hokki blanc (Crossoptilon crossoptilon) et le Hokki du Tibet (Crossoptilon harmani) dans les forêts (93°39'E, 32°24'N) de l'est du Tibet au cours de la période qui a suivi l'incubation en 1995. La fréquence des plumes de mue retrouvées a servi d'indice de l'abondance relative des hokkis en vue de l'analyse des tendances dans le choix d'un habitat et son utilisation. Les forêts des adrets, dominées par le chêne Quercus aquifolioides et le genévrier Sabina tibetica, étaient les habitats préférés des hokkis. En revanche, les hokkis évitaient les forêts de conifères des ubacs, pourtant les habitats préférés d'espèces de hokkis dans d'autres régions, probablement parce que les conditions chaleur-humidité qui y prévalent sont au-delà de la limite de tolérance physiologique des oiseaux. Les conditions climatiques semblent donc être le facteur le plus déterminant du choix d'un macrohabitat chez les hokkis. Dans les habitats préférés, les boisés de chênes et de genévriers représentent la plus grande proportion des domaines dans les groupes familiaux. Les déplacements quotidiens d'un groupe peuvent couvrir une grande étendue an altitude, de la base des montagnes jusqu'au-delà de la ligne des arbres, et les oiseaux y favorisent surtout les endroits favorables à la quête de nourriture et aux « bains de sable ».[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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nrc/cjz/2001/00000079/00000002/art00014
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