Niche partitioning by lesser prairie-chicken Tympanuchus pallidicinctus and ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus in southwestern Kansas
Christian A. Hagen, James C. Pitman, Robert J. Robel, Thomas M. Loughin & Roger D. Applegate
Hagen, C.A., Pitman, J.C., Robel, R.J., Loughin, T.M. & Applegate, R.D. 2007: Niche partitioning by lesser prairie-chicken Tympanuchus pallidicinctus and ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus in southwestern Kansas. - Wildl. Biol. 13 (Suppl. 1): 34-41.
We conducted this 2-year study to determine if lesser prairie-chickens Tympanuchus pallidicinctus and ring-necked pheasants Phasianus colchicus used the same habitats where their ranges overlapped in southwestern Kansas. Telemetry locations of 50 transmitter-equipped lesser prairie-chickens and 28 pheasants were used to monitor habitat use by the two species. Additionally, vegetation characteristics at 39 nest sites of lesser prairie chickens were compared to those at 14 pheasant nest sites. Morisita’s Index of niche overlap detected moderate similarities of habitat mixes used by lesser prairie-chickens and pheasants, but location data showed that spatial use of those habitats differed. Vegetation structure around nest sites of the two species differed significantly indicating selection of different habitat for nesting birds, and lesser prairie-chickens nested far from the outer edges of native prairie whereas pheasants nested nearer the outer edges. Despite the modest amount of similarity in mixes of habitats used by lesser prairie chickens and ring-necked pheasants, we conclude that the two species occupy separate niches given the current extent of habitat in southwestern Kansas. However, if additional habitat loss or fragmentation occurs pheasants may gain competitive advantage over lesser prairie-chickens. Thus, we recommend maintaining and conserving large blocks of native habitat as well as the connectivity between them as a management strategy for maintaining populations of lesser prairie-chickens.
Key words: lesser prairie-chickens, niche partitioning, Phasianus colchicus, ring-necked pheasant, southwestern Kansas, Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
Christian A. Hagen*, James C. Pitman** & Robert J. Robel, Division of Biology Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506, USA - e-mail addresses: email@example.com (Christian A. Hagen); firstname.lastname@example.org (James C. Pitman); email@example.com (Robert J. Robel)
Thomas M. Loughin***, Department of Statistics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506, USA - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger D. Applegate#, Research and Survey Office, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Emporia, Kansas 66801, USA - e-mail: Roger.Applegate@state.tn.us
*Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 61374 Parrell Rd, Bend, Oregon 97702, USA
**Research and Survey Office, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Emporia, Kansas 66801, USA
***Statistics and Actuarial Science, Simon Fraser University Surrey, Surrey, British Columbia V3T 0A3, Canada
#Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, Ellington Agricultural Center, PO Box 40747, Nashville, Tennessee 37204, USA
Corresponding author: Christian Hagen