You are here:

Causes of decline in pheasants and gray partridge

Project data

Project leader and contact for project data: Prof. Prof. h. c. Dr. Ursula Siebert
Scientific work: Jennifer Liebing, veterinarian
Dr. Friederike Gethöffer
Project term: since 2011 (pilot phase)
Sponsorship: Hunting fees of the State of Lower Saxony
Association of the Supporters of the Institute for Wildlife Research

Project description


The pheasant (phasianus colchicus) is one of the most significant small game species for hunting in Lower Saxony and reached a high stocking rate in many areas over the last 20 years. In 2008/09 was a huge decline of hunting bag and the process wears on, mainly in western Lower Saxony.

Since 1970 we can observe a decline of gray partridges (perdix perdix) so that the livestock is endangered. The hunting of this small game species is voluntary extensively desisted. This farmland bird species prefer a variegated structured habitat with meadows and pastures, hedges, stubble fields, boundary ridge and fallow land.


Questions and scope of work

It is probable that the course of decline in pheasants and gray partridges is a multifactorial event.


The essential part of the influencing factors, which are examined in this study, are the pathogenic germs. These are bacteria, viruses and parasites. About whose occurrence only limited information in wild population of pheasants and gray partridges are available. The investigation area is located in striking distance to commercial poultry facility. We evaluate if the typical pathogenic germs transfers to the wild population. For other wild species many information are available e. g. the transfer of classical swine fever between domestic pic and wild pic. Epidemiological factors for the wild bird population are widely unknown. The pathogenicity of poultry diseases for the wild bird population is partial inexplicit. In addition to consider the turnout of pathogenic germs or poisonous substance in the broadest sense about animal dung, liquid manure or fermentation substrates.


The effect of abiotic factors of the specific habitat, inclusive atmospheric exposure and possible effects of pesticides or biocides on the food resources must be ascertained. Furthermore the directly and indirectly potential toxicological effects by pesticides and biocides and the impacts on the immune system should be under examination. It must be held, moreover, if the predation pressure and reproductive success as primary or secondary reasons are the causes of decline. The ITAW surveys the predation effect on pheasant and gray partridge and can thus contribute important results about this subject area.

Contact person

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research

Bischofsholer Damm 15

30173 Hannover


Tierärztin Nele Curland

Tel.: +49 511 856-7623

E-Mail schreiben


Dr. Egbert Strauß

Tel.: +49 511 856-7620

Fax: +49 511 856-827620

E-Mail schreiben

Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Institute for Wildlife Research
Bischofsholer Damm 15
30173 Hannover
This page...