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Artificial nest predation in hedgerows and scrub forest in a human-dominated landscape of central Mexico

Acta Oecologica-International Journal of Ecology

Abstract

Hedgerows as well as other narrow corridors could be valuable habitats for birds in regions of intensive agriculture, however, it is still not clear how successful breeding birds are in different types of hedgerows as compared to birds nesting in their natural habitats. We used artificial nests to examine whether hedgerows were sinks (ecological traps) for birds by comparing rates of predation in two types of hedgerows with different vegetation structure (simple and complex), and in a tract of scrub forest in an agricultural landscape of central Mexico. We determined also the types of predators responsible for egg predation. Ground and elevated nests were baited with one Japanese quail Coturnix japonica egg and one plasticine egg and placed alternately along transects. Significantly, greater predation rates were found in scrub forest and complex hedgerows than in simple hedgerows. Higher predation rates in complex habitats seemed to reflect the higher number of predator types found there. The most important predator types were carnivores followed by rodents, birds, and humans. Carnivores and rodents mainly predated ground nests, whereas birds and humans predated elevated nests. Simple hedgerows in this landscape appeared to offer relatively safe nest sites in terms of predation pressure when compared to more complex habitats (complex hedgerows and scrub forest). (c) 2006 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Zuria, I; Gates, JE; Castellanos, I

Journal: Acta Oecologica-International Journal of Ecology

Year: 2007

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