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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Lester D. Flake


hen pheasants, habitat, environment, south dakota, breeding


Habitat selection and use by breeding female ringnecked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) was studied during 1999, 2000, and 2001 in eastern South Dakota. Each year during January and February (1999-2001), approximately 60 female pheasants were captured using walk-in funnel traps and were affixed with a necklace-type radio transmitter with a mortality sensor. Radio-marked pheasants were located 5 days per week from 15 March through 15 June using a vehicle-mounted, four-element null-peak antennae system. Radios transmitting mortality signals were located and the bird’s fate was determined. Study areas were cover-mapped into the following categories: pasture, cropland, hayland, idle, woody cover, wet wetland, dry wetland, fenceline, right-of-way/ditch, road, farmstead, and miscellaneous. A 28-m radius (about ¼ ha) buffer around each location point was used to estimate habitats selected. Land-use changed little over the course of the study, with the exception of standing water. Seasonal home ranges were calculated from a total of 153 females for late-winter and 65 females for breeding, with 5,925 total relocations recorded. Although differences in home range sizes were found between years, study areas, and seasons, these differences were primarily attributed to the variation in annual precipitation patterns. Female ring-necked pheasants used all available habitats during both seasons, but woody cover and idle herbaceous cover were typically selected in greater proportions than available (preferred), while farmsteads were typically selected in proportions much less than available (avoided). Selection of habitats differed during the late-winter season between morning and midday hours. Cropland and idle herbaceous cover habitats were selected more frequently in the early morning, whereas woody cover, wet wetlands (i.e., frozen wetlands), and open habitats were selected more frequently during midday hours. During the breeding season, however, female pheasants showed little preference in habitat selection between morning and midday hours, with the exception of woody cover that was selected more frequently during the midday hours.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ring-necked pheasnat -- Habitat -- South Dakota -- Beadle County
Ring-necked pheasant -- South Dakota -- Beadle County -- Reproduction
Pheasants -- South Dakota -- Beadle County


Includes bibliographical references (page 53-57)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2007 Rebecca D. Schilowsky. All rights reserved.