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Providing artificial nest platforms for Cabot's tragopan Tragopan caboti (Aves: Galliformes): a useful conservation tool?

  • Wen-hong Deng (a1), Guang-mei Zheng (a1), Zheng-wang Zhang (a1), Peter J. Garson (a2) and Philip J. K. McGowan (a3)...

Abstract

Cabot's tragopan Tragopan caboti, a pheasant that inhabits subtropical montane forests in south-east China, is categorized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Nesting in trees, it routinely makes use of natural platforms and the old nests of other species, both of which may sometimes be in short supply. This study was designed to test how much use would be made of artificial nest platforms, and to identify factors influencing their occupation. Basketry platforms made of bamboo were erected in parts of Wuyanling National Nature Reserve, Zhejiang Province, China. The tragopans used 16 platforms (8%) in 2002 and 12 (5%) in the following year. A census of the population in spring suggested that a high proportion of the females (41% in 2002, 36% in 2003) in the study area made use of the platforms. There were significant preferences for platforms in mixed conifer/broadleaf forest, as opposed to pure stands, as well as for sites on the upper part of hill slopes. Principal component scores were used to represent variation in 11 variables measured at each platform site. Binary logistic regressions employing these scores as predictors for each year separately did not reveal a consistent model for distinguishing used from unused platforms, although short distances to the forest edge were associated with use in both years. These nest platforms are cheap and easy to erect, and may have the potential to halt or reverse a perceived downward population trend for this species across the whole of its fragmented range. Further trials are therefore advocated.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence: Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, College of Life Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China. E-mail dengwh@bnu.edu.cn

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Providing artificial nest platforms for Cabot's tragopan Tragopan caboti (Aves: Galliformes): a useful conservation tool?

  • Wen-hong Deng (a1), Guang-mei Zheng (a1), Zheng-wang Zhang (a1), Peter J. Garson (a2) and Philip J. K. McGowan (a3)...

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