Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Landscape Ecology and Demography
Ring-necked Pheasants



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Throughout the Midwest United States, the expansion of row-crop agriculture has resulted in the extensive loss of grassland habitats and simplified landscapes. This has caused population declines in numerous grassland-dependent species, including game birds such as the Ring-necked Pheasant.
Since 2012, researchers at the University of Illinois and Illinois Natural History Survey, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, have captured and attached radio transmitters to Ring-necked Pheasants at public and private grasslands in east-central Illinois. These efforts have been part of an on-going research project aimed at understanding how landscape and field characteristics influence pheasant demography, movement and behavior, and identifying management approaches that benefit pheasant populations.
Specifically, our project aims to:
  • Identify the habitat needs of pheasantsuse me.jpg throughout their full life cycle

  • Understand how the habitat features important to one stage influence performance during other stages

  • Determine the factors driving movement and dispersal dynamics of pheasants in fragmented landscapes

  • Use models to understand the likely outcomes of different management actions
To meet these objectives, we have been monitoring habitat use and survival year round and across all life stages. By collecting these data, we can better identify which aspects of pheasant biology are most amenable to management actions. Ultimately, this will help identify the factors driving population dynamics and provide resource managers with more detailed information to use when making decisions.

Illinois Natural History Survey

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Champaign, IL 61820

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