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Behaviour and reintroduction success of captive-bred grey partridges (Perdix perdix)
This D.Phil. research project, co-supervised by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, focuses on the pre- and post-release behaviour of captive-bred grey partridges reintroduced on British farmland. Grey partridge reintroductions are part of a countrywide Grey Partridge Recovery programme as the UK government has listed grey partridges a priority species in its biodiversity action plan. However, like many reintroduction programmes, grey partridge reintroductions have suffered from high mortality among the released birds, mainly through predation. The main cause of this high mortality may be inadequate anti-predator behaviour, e.g. in terms of choice of habitats and/or poor vigilance for predators. Behavioural deficiencies of the captive-bred animals are among the main problems of reintroductions. In my research, I'm monitoring the behaviour and survival of the released grey partridges by radio telemetry in order to uncover patterns of behaviour that have negative impacts on the survival of the released animals. This will help uncover and possibly mitigate the reasons for poor success rates of wildlife reintroductions. I've also added an aspect of pre-release behaviour into the project by testing the birds for fearful or bold temperament before release and then investigating their post-release survival. This D.Phil. project also forms a part of a wider farmland biodiversity research entity set on the tributaries of the Upper Thames river, therefore bearing the name Upper Thames Project. This is the second of the two reintroduction studies in the project, the other one involving water voles.
Associated publicationsVigilance, time budgets and predation risk in reintroduced captive-bred grey partridges Perdix perdix.
Habitat preferences and survival in wildlife reintroductions: an ecological trap in reintroduced grey partridges.