Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (8): 21484.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2021484

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effect of anthropogenic disturbance on Lady Amherst’s pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae) activity

Yuanfang Hu1, Binqiang Li1,2, Dan Liang3, Xingquan Li4, Lanxiang Liu4, Jiawei Yang4, Xu Luo1,*()   

  1. 1. Faculty of Biodiversity and Conservation, Key Laboratory for Conserving Wildlife with Small Populations in Yunnan, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China
    2. Institute of Forestry Engineering, Guangxi Eco-Engineering Vocational and Technical College, Liuzhou, Guangxi 545004, China
    3. Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, New Jersey 08540, USA
    4. Management Bureau of Weishan Qinghua Green Peafowl Nature Reserve, Weishan, Yunnan 672400, China
  • Received:2021-11-25 Accepted:2022-06-06 Online:2022-08-20 Published:2022-08-31
  • Contact: Xu Luo


Aims: The expanding human footprint has increased the frequency of interactions between humans and wildlife. Understanding how fauna respond to anthropogenic disturbances in protected areas is vital to guide management decisions and conservation efforts. Previous studies suggest that wildlife tends to avoid humans both spatially and temporally. However, little attention has been given to how wild pheasants respond to anthropogenic disturbances in protected areas. The Lady Amherst’s pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae) is a widely-distributed wild pheasant found in low- to mid-elevation environments across Southwest China, an area that has been perturbed by extensive human activity. This study assesses the Lady Amherst’s pheasant’s spatial and temporal responses to anthropogenic activity in a nature reserve in the subtropical forests of Southwest China.

Methods: Between November 2017 and October 2018, we deployed 36 infrared camera traps to survey Lady Amherst’s pheasant behavior and the extent of anthropogenic disturbance (i.e., livestock grazing, the presence of domesticated dogs and cats, and human activity). We then assessed the spatial and temporal responses of pheasants to anthropogenic disturbances in breeding and non-breeding seasons.

Results: Lady Amherst’s pheasant exhibited temporal, but not spatial, avoidance of anthropogenic disturbance. Daily activity of the pheasant peaked from 17:30 to 18:30, avoiding the most vigorous anthropogenic disturbance (occurring at approximately 12:00) in the non-breeding season. In the breeding season, daily activity levels increased rapidly and coincided more frequently with anthropogenic disturbance than during the non-breeding season. This may have been related to breeding activities such as territorial defense and mating displays. Furthermore, pheasants in more intensely disturbed sites were more likely to be active at dusk when human activity was low, suggesting that they adjust their behavior in response to anthropogenic disturbance.

Conclusion: Lady Amherst’s pheasants tend to avoid anthropogenic disturbance in the non-breeding season, but reduce avoidance in the breeding season. Management measures such as limiting human activity, grazing, and the number of domestic dogs and cats in the breeding season may help support populations of this wild pheasant and other ground-breeding species in this nature reserve.

Key words: anthropogenic disturbance, activity rhythm, nature reserve management, grazing, Lady Amherst’s pheasant