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Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Herbaceous ground cover reduces nest predation in olive groves

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2014
Authors:Castro-Caro, JC, Carpio, AJ, Tortosa, FS
Journal:Bird Study
Volume:61
Issue:4
Date Published:2014
ISBN Number:0006-3657
Keywords:Coturnix, Coturnix coturnix, Phasianidae
Abstract:Capsule Bare ground increases artificial nest predation in olive groves.Aims To assess the effect of different soil management regimes on nest predation rates in olive groves.Methods We performed nest predation experiments with artificial nests during the breeding season in 2013, in two areas of southern Spain. Each artificial nest (n?=?300) contained three quail Coturnix eggs, two of which were unmanipulated and the third one was emptied and injected with plaster. Predators were identified by marks on eggs filled with plaster.Results Ground nests were significantly more depredated, irrespective of the presence of ground cover; tree nests were less depredated in fields with ground cover. There was a clear difference in nest predators of ground and tree nests. Rodents were the most frequent predators of tree nests.Conclusion Lower predation rates of tree nests in orchards with ground cover are probably linked to a change in the foraging behaviour of rodents, which in these more complex habitats might be restricted by rodents' own risk of predation. This study underscores the important role of agricultural practices in preserving farmland bird communities, particularly tree-nesting species, suggesting that for this group, implementation of ground cover in olive groves might enhance breeding success by reducing nest predation rates.Capsule Bare ground increases artificial nest predation in olive groves.Aims To assess the effect of different soil management regimes on nest predation rates in olive groves.Methods We performed nest predation experiments with artificial nests during the breeding season in 2013, in two areas of southern Spain. Each artificial nest (n?=?300) contained three quail Coturnix eggs, two of which were unmanipulated and the third one was emptied and injected with plaster. Predators were identified by marks on eggs filled with plaster.Results Ground nests were significantly more depredated, irrespective of the presence of ground cover; tree nests were less depredated in fields with ground cover. There was a clear difference in nest predators of ground and tree nests. Rodents were the most frequent predators of tree nests.Conclusion Lower predation rates of tree nests in orchards with ground cover are probably linked to a change in the foraging behaviour of rodents, which in these more complex habitats might be restricted by rodents' own risk of predation. This study underscores the important role of agricultural practices in preserving farmland bird communities, particularly tree-nesting species, suggesting that for this group, implementation of ground cover in olive groves might enhance breeding success by reducing nest predation rates.
URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00063657.2014.961894
Short Title:Bird Study
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith