Understanding habitat selection and assessing habitat quality have an important role in habitat management and prioritisation of areas for protection. However, interpretations of habitat selection and habitat quality can be confounded by social effects such as conspecific attraction. Using 7 years’ data from a well monitored Great Bustard Otis tarda population in Central Europe, we investigated the roles of human disturbance and social cues in display site selection of male Great Bustards Otis tarda. The spatial distribution of displaying males was best predicted by human disturbance. In addition, the number of males attending display sites was strongly correlated to the number of females present and not with disturbance. This suggests that abundance could be a misleading metric for habitat quality in social species. Our results highlight the roles of disturbance and social cues in male habitat choice, and suggest that social factors need to be taken into consideration for management of endangered populations.
Burnside, R. J., Végvári, Z. S., James, R., Konyhás, S., Kovács, G., & Szekely, T. (2014). Human disturbance and conspecifics influence display site selection by Great Bustards Otis tarda. Bird Conservation International, 24(1), 32-44. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959270913000142