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Territoriality in the Great Tit Parus major at Low and High Densities

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Distances defended between neighbouring nests by breeding males of the Great Tit, their song responses to tape recordings, and breeding success were analyzed over a period of four years. Nest boxes were placed in an isolated 15.5 ha Spruce forest, where Tits bred at low density, and in a 2.5 ha plot of trees in an urban park, where they bred at high density. The mean defended distances between nests were 39 m and 117 m in the two areas. The difference between the longest and shortest distance defended by the males was great in the very dense population but small in the less dense population. Song responses of the males did not differ between the small and large territory holders at the low density, but the difference was significant at the high density. Lower productivity was found in broods of males defending short distances than broods of males defending long distances at a high population density. There were no differences at low population density. Unequal division of resources by territoriality and different reproductive success at the high density in urban park may be a result of the human-produced environment.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/015613890791749082

Publication date: December 1, 1990

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  • Bird Behavior is an international and interdisciplinary journal that publishes high-quality, original research on descriptive and experimental analyses of species-typical avian behavior, including the areas of ethology, behavioral ecology, comparative psychology, and behavioral neuroscience.
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