Breeding success of wild and hand-reared ring-necked pheasants.
We compared male territoriality, harem possession, and relative breeding success in subsequent years of hand-reared versus wild-reared ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) at 2 sites in England and Ireland. Release of hand-reared males in summer led to an increase in the density of non-territorial males the following spring. Relative breeding success was 5x and 2x greater for wild males than hand-reared males at Ireland and England, respectively. There were no differences between 49 radio-tracked wild and hand-reared females in the number of nesting attempts/individual, or the proportion of successful nests. Hand-reared females were 3x more vulnerable to predation during April-August than were wild females. Wild females were 4x more productive than hand-reared females.