Beyond habitat: effects of conspecific and heterospecific aggregation on the spatial structure of a wetland nesting bird community

Miroslav Šálek, Martin Sládeček, Vojtěch Kubelka, Jiří Mlíkovský, David Storch, Petr Šmilauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Nest location is a key factor influencing reproductive success in birds, and habitat choice is considered the main way in which birds select nest sites. Less attention has been devoted to the demand for proximity to other bird nests, which can provide additional profit, namely defense against predators. Here we analyzed the contributions of habitat, and conspecific and heterospecific aggregation to the spatial arrangement of breeding birds in a model bird community. We surveyed a pristine Siberian wetland bird community with the aim to locate all bird territories or nests, in 1993 and 2013. Habitat explained much of the nest site choice, but the nests were aggregated both intra- and inter-specifically more than the spatial pattern of the habitat could explain. In particular, ducks, grebes and some waders bred nearby the most abundant active nest defenders, such as gulls and terns. Heterospecific associations were particularly pronounced in 2013, when the community was impoverished and one common active defender (white-winged black tern Chlidonias leucopterus) was replaced by a less numerous but aggressive predator (Mongolian gull Larus mongolicus). The results suggest that spatial pattern in bird nests may be influenced by the (dis)appearance of one or a few species, which can play a role as umbrella or predator species. Integration of factors supporting the breeding of umbrella species, such as gulls, may became key targets for comprehensive conservation measures in large wetlands.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02928
JournalJournal of Avian Biology
Volume2022
Issue number2
Early online date24 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
– In 1993, our fieldwork was permitted by V. Mel'nikov, E. Ovdin and A. Beketov, directors of the Zabaykalsky National Park Administration. In 2013, the fieldwork was permitted by M. Ovdin, director of the Park, and was facilitated through personal assistance from A. Razuvaev. We express our thanks to Z. Karlíková, V. Zámečník, M. Nacházelová and A. Kohutka for their devoted field assistance in 2013. Vít Dvořák kindly helped to prepare the visualization of habitat and species maps using GIS. We are grateful to Robin Healey for his language assistance. – This study was funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (Grant MŠMT Kontakt II, project LH13278). In addition, VK's work was supported by ÉLVONAL-KKP 126949 of the Hungarian government and by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic grant CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/19_074/0014459. JM was supported by the DKRVO 2013/14 and 2014/15 projects of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.

Funding Information:
– This study was funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (Grant MŠMT Kontakt II, project LH13278). In addition, VK's work was supported by ÉLVONAL‐KKP 126949 of the Hungarian government and by Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic grant CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/19_074/0014459. JM was supported by the DKRVO 2013/14 and 2014/15 projects of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Avian Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos

Keywords

  • Lake Baikal
  • Siberia
  • anti-predatory strategies
  • breeding habitat
  • nest predation
  • nest site selection
  • predation risk
  • wetland birds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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