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Nest predation in Reed Buntings Emberiza schoeniclus: an experimental study


Schiegg, K; Eger, M; Pasinelli, G (2007). Nest predation in Reed Buntings Emberiza schoeniclus: an experimental study. Ibis, 149(2):365-373.

Abstract

Predation is a major cause of nest failure in many bird species. High levels of nest loss may be a consequence of habitat fragmentation, leading to increased amounts of edge habitat. Yet the evidence for generally high nest predation rates along edges in fragmented landscapes is ambiguous. Using real nests of Reed Buntings Emberiza schoeniclus in which artificial Reed Bunting and real Japanese Quail Coturnix japonica eggs were placed, we experimentally tested for edge effects on nest predation in highly fragmented reed Phragmites sp. habitats in the Swiss lowlands. We also examined seasonal patterns of predation and the impacts of nest visits by observers. We found evidence for an edge effect at the water-sided reed edge, with nests located closer to the water being more likely to be predated than those further away. Predation probability increased from early to late season, suggesting that nest predation may be density dependent. Probability of nest predation was only weakly influenced by whether or not a nest was visited. Our results suggest that the intensive reed management currently applied in Swiss nature reserves may result in unnaturally high levels of nest losses in the Reed Bunting, because reed bands are not wide enough to allow nest placement at a safe distance from reed edges.

Predation is a major cause of nest failure in many bird species. High levels of nest loss may be a consequence of habitat fragmentation, leading to increased amounts of edge habitat. Yet the evidence for generally high nest predation rates along edges in fragmented landscapes is ambiguous. Using real nests of Reed Buntings Emberiza schoeniclus in which artificial Reed Bunting and real Japanese Quail Coturnix japonica eggs were placed, we experimentally tested for edge effects on nest predation in highly fragmented reed Phragmites sp. habitats in the Swiss lowlands. We also examined seasonal patterns of predation and the impacts of nest visits by observers. We found evidence for an edge effect at the water-sided reed edge, with nests located closer to the water being more likely to be predated than those further away. Predation probability increased from early to late season, suggesting that nest predation may be density dependent. Probability of nest predation was only weakly influenced by whether or not a nest was visited. Our results suggest that the intensive reed management currently applied in Swiss nature reserves may result in unnaturally high levels of nest losses in the Reed Bunting, because reed bands are not wide enough to allow nest placement at a safe distance from reed edges.

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12 citations in Web of Science®
14 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:14
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:13
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0019-1019
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com.
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00654.x
Related URLs:http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00654.x
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-372

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