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CheckDeviceFormat fails

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I'm trying to check whether the system supports a certain depth buffer mode. The code below reports that it is NOT supported, but when creating the device with the same parameters (D3DFMT_A8R8G8B8 and depth buffer D3DFMT_D16) it works fine. Why does the test below fail?
if(FAILED(Direct3D->CheckDeviceFormat(D3DADAPTER_DEFAULT, D3DDEVTYPE_HAL, D3DFMT_A8R8G8B8, D3DUSAGE_DEPTHSTENCIL, D3DRTYPE_SURFACE, D3DFMT_D16)))
	{
		Error.SetMessage("Your system does not allow 16-bit depth buffers!");
		return FALSE;
	}

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