Therefore, based on nest-site selection of this eared pheasant, we strongly suggest that moderate logging activity and prohibition of local peoples' firewood collection in the core areas may provide some optimal nest habitat for the brown-eared pheasant.
Of the 24 failed nests, twelve were depredated by large-billed crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) based on peck marks on eggshells; four by wild boar (Sus scrofa) or badger (Meles meles) or Siberian weasel (Mustela sibirica), based on animal tracks found near the nest and/or in nest, and four probably failed due to raptors based on finding the framework of the eared pheasant near the nests.
The Chinese Phasianids-brown eared pheasant. China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing.
Nest-site selection of the white eared pheasant in southwestern Sichuan Province, China.
Key words: Blue eared pheasant, golden pheasant, lady Amherst pheasant, brown eared pheasant.
From an evolutionary perspective, this strategy of habitat selection of the breeding blue- eared pheasant may be a behavioral and ecological adaptation to avoid predators and maximize their fitness, and an optimal ecological tactic to obtain a high survival rate of their population and maintain a stable population size (Sun, 2002).
The four species of eared pheasants (Crossoptilon spp.) are usually found in forest habitats (Johnsgard,1999), but the blue-eared pheasant also occurs in relatively sparse shrub vegetation typical of sub- alpine shrub meadows (Li et al., 1985).
blue- eared pheasants preferred these forests with higher tree and grasses, higher position on slope, higher species richness, and steeper slope.
The present study also revealed that breeding blue- eared pheasants preferred mid-high and high positions on slopes with more species richness and higher cover of grasses (Table I) because in those areas, more types of plant and higher cover of grasses can provide not only the seeds and roots of grasses for their foraging but also a good place for different kinds of insects, which are the major food resources of their fledglings.