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Habitat associations of British breeding farmland birds

Bird Study

Abstract

Capsule Territory distribution for ten species was most strongly positively influenced by the presence of hedges and woodland edge. Aims To describe and rank the importance of different habitat predictors on the distribution of bird territories. Methods We derived territory maps for ten bird species across 25 sites on English lowland farmland in 2002. We related habitat predictors to the distribution of these species using information theoretic methods. Results Habitat predictors were ranked as follows (numbers in parentheses indicate the number of species with a strong effect): hedge presence (8), boundary height (7), woodland edge (6), free presence in boundary (4), brassica (mainly oil seed rape) (3), within-field vegetation height (3), boundary strip (3), boundary width (3), tilled fields (3), winter set-aside (2), ditch (1), winter stubble fields (1). Conclusions Non-cropped habitats had the most consistent positive effects across all ten species, with crop types and their margins exerting smaller effects.

Author(s): Whittingham, MJ; Krebs, JR; Swetnam, RD; Thewlis, RM; Wilson, JD; Freckleton, RP

Journal: Bird Study

Year: 2009

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