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Structural heterogeneity of linear habitats positively affects Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria, Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis and Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca in farmland of Western Poland

Bird Study

Abstract

Capsule Structural heterogeneity was the most important factor influencing the distribution of Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria, Common Whitethroat S. communis and Lesser Whitethroat S. curruca in linear habitats in farmland of Western Poland.Aims To investigate the occurrence of three species of Sylvia warblers in relation to the spatial structure of linear habitats in the agricultural landscape of Western Poland where, in contrast to Western Europe, field boundaries are not managed in terms of their size or spatial structure.Methods In 2008, the distribution of breeding territories of Sylvia warblers in linear habitats was estimated in farmland of Western Poland. Redundancy detrended analysis was used to assess the relationship between bird abundance and seven linear habitat variables in ninety-four 150m sections.ResultsSylvia warblers differed in habitat requirements, however heterogeneity affected their distribution to the greatest extent. In addition, Barred Warbler preferred high shrub volume and wider sections, whereas Common Whitethroat was attracted by brambles and nettles and Lesser Whitethroat favoured shrubs. All species avoided a high proportion of low vegetation.Conclusion Structural heterogeneity resulted in highly preferred linear habitats for Sylvia warblers. Thus, maintaining or increasing structural heterogeneity of linear habitats may be a very effective tool for the conservation of farmland bird populations.

Author(s): Szymanski, P; Antczak, M

Journal: Bird Study

Year: 2013

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