Estimating the nesting success and productivity of British pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) from nest record schemes.
Records of Pheasant nests from the British Trust for Ornithology's (BTO) Nest Record Scheme and The Game Conservancy's Pheasant Nest Recording Scheme (PNRS) were analysed. Mean clutch size was 11.4 and hatchability of eggs averaged 86%. Daily rates of clutch loss were 2-3 times higher on the day following the nest being discovered, associated with an increased rate of abandonment. After this, daily rates of loss during laying were 0.070 and 0.114 and losses during incubation were 0.015 and 0.028 from the PNRS and BTO samples, respectively. Calculations suggest that 53% and 25% of females successfully produced a brood from the PNRS and BTO samples, respectively. The figure from the BTO sample is probably too low to sustain a population. It is suggested that the low rate of brood production is caused by the widescale release of hand-reared birds which are known to breed poorly.