Bird of the Year 1998  

The National bird of Georgia Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus [KOLKHURI KHOKHOBI in Georgian language] was selected as Bird of the Year in 1998 - for the first year of our activity. Several areas of the species distribution in Georgia were visited during the whole year and new, interesting data on the species recent distribution and numbers were collected.
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The Pheasant is considered as rare sporadic year-round breeding resident to Georgia. In small numbers breeds in the several points of Western Georgia - in Paliastomi Lake basin, Rioni Rivers' flood-land and Eastern Georgia - in flood-lands of Alazani River, Iori River and Mtkvari River. Total number is unknown, but does not exceed 600-650 pairs. Breeding range is scattered and spotted. At present species is classified as threatened for Georgia. In the past, till the middle of 20th Century, it was widespread and fairly common in Georgia on plains with shrub thickets, in light fortests with dense subforest, in reed-beds along rivers, and also on cereal fields, tea plantations, in the vicinity of settlements. Since the 1950s in connection with abruptly increased huiman activity, wide use of pesticides, increase of disturbance factor, numbers began to decline rapidly. Besides that, not less than 400 Hunting Pheasants were released in some places since the middle of 1970's, which crowded out aboriginal birds, forming hybrtids with them and the latter fact has plaid the negative role too.


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