Captive rearing and release of birds in the order Galliformes remains a popular management tactic despite low survival rates. We investigated avian predator selection of captive-reared northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) as a potential driver of their high mortality. We simulated avian predator hunts on a flushing pair of bobwhites during trials conducted from 6 February 2015 to 14 February 2015 in Texas, USA. When presented a choice of a captive-reared bobwhite or wild bobwhite, a Harris's hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) pursued a captive-reared bobwhite in 8 of 10 flight trials. This selective rate, combined with observations from auxiliary research indicate avian predation may be a greater risk for captive-reared birds than wild birds. The success of captive-rearing and release efforts may benefit from a better understanding of how to more adequately prepare captive-reared birds for release.
- northern bobwhite
- raptor predation