Habitat selection by three sympatric high-mountain Galliformes
Author of the article:XU Yu, WANG Bin, DOU Liang, et al.
Author's Workplace：Pingdingshan University, Guizhou Normal University, Sichuan University, Chinese Academy of Forestry
Key Words：Galliformes, habitat selection, season, conservation, sympatric
Abstract：Understanding habitat selection by sympatric species can provide insights into species coexistence, competition and niche partitioning, and also has important practical value for developing well-integrated species conservation policies. We studied habitat selection by three sympatric rare high-mountain Galliformes, Buff-throated Partridges (Tetraophasis szechenyii), White Eared-pheasants (Crossoptilon crossoptilon), and Blood Pheasants (Ithaginis cruentus) in Gexigou national nature reserve, Yajiang County, western China from April 2014 to January 2015. Along 17 established line-transects, we detected 65, 61 and 66 species occurrence evidences in spring, autumn and winter months, respectively. Jacobs’s index analysis with the Bonferroni simultaneous-confidence-interval approach revealed that: (1) In spring, Buff-throated Partridges preferred fir-larch forests with an obvious avoidance of oak thickets, while White Eared-pheasants avoided rhododendron or other miscellaneous shrubs and grasslands. Blood Pheasants used all five habitat types in proportion to availability; (2) In autumn, Blood Pheasants avoided rhododendron or other miscellaneous shrubs and grasslands, while Buff-throated Partridges and White Eared-pheasants did not show positive selection or obvious avoidance for any habitat types; (3) In winter, all the three species showed an active avoidance of rhododendron or other miscellaneous shrubs and grasslands. Additionally, White Eared-pheasants showed a preference for oak thickets. The results indicate interspecific and seasonal differences in habitat selection by the three species. For conservation management of the three species, and, potentially high-mountain Gallifomes throughout western China, we suggest managers to maintain a mosaic of habitats.