Patterns of association for pheasants released into the wild (dataset)
Madden, Joah Robert
van Horik, Jayden
University of Exeter
Sexual segregation is common and can occur when sexes occupy different habitats, and/or when sexes aggregate assortatively within the same habitats. However, it is rarely studied in birds, with most previous work concentrating on differential settlement by the sexes in discrete habitats, often separated by large distances. Little attention has been paid to patterns of segregation within the same site. We reared 200 pheasants Phasianus colchicus and released them onto a single farm and recorded their patterns of association and differential use of artificial feeders in space and time. Within a relatively small site of 250Ha, we observed sexual segregation by time and space. Particular feeders were preferred by one sex, although we could find no features of the local habitat which explained such preferences, although feeders that were further from the release site had higher proportions of male visits. Further, we found sex differences in the use of feeders throughout the day, with females preferentially visiting them in the morning, and the proportion of females visiting feeders increasing as the year progressed. Social network analyses found that sexual segregation was obvious as soon as birds had been released and became more pronounced as the year progressed. Females associated with other females from November to February, while males avoided other males over this same period. Sexes became less likely to associate with one another in five of the six months monitored. Pheasants exhibit clear patterns of fine-scale sexual segregation based on space and time which was observed in their social preferences. Such detailed fine-scale segregation is rarely observed in birds.
Data used in Whiteside et al. Patterns of association for pheasants released into the wild: sexual segregation by space and time