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Artificial ground nest survival in two abandoned farmland habitats on Solta Island (Croatia)

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On the Dalmatian Islands native large bodied ground-nesting bird species are rare, while the introduced Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) is currently very common and often breed in abandoned farmlands. The survival chance of its nests in two different habitats was surveyed by using artificial ground nests on Solta Island in May 2008. Within a week, predators found and damaged all (100%) of the nests in the abandoned vineyards and 88% of those located in abandoned fields. The daily survival rate of artificial nests in the abandoned vineyard (41.86%) was significantly lower than that in the abandoned fields (79.82%). Predation patterns of chicken eggs versus plasticine eggs were similar in the two habitats. Predators removed 72% of chicken eggs and 72% of plasticine eggs from nests in the abandoned vineyard, and 64% of chicken eggs and 44% of plasticine eggs from nests in the abandoned fields. The primary predators to nests of ground-nesting birds on Solta Island are Hooded Crows (Corvus cornix). Damage to nests caused by small bodied birds, small mammals and snakes was quite insignificant. Wild boars (Sus scrofa) that colonised the island about a decade ago did not damage the experimental nests.
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Keywords: ARTIFICIAL NESTS; CORVUS CORNIX; NEST PREDATION; PHASIANUS COLCHICUS; SUS SCROFA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2011

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  • Avian Biology Research provides a forum for the publication of research in every field of ornithology. It covers all aspects of pure and applied ornithology for wild or captive species as well as research that does not readily fit within the publication objectives of other ornithological journals. By considering a wide range of research fields for publication, Avian Biology Research provides a forum for people working in every field of ornithology. The journal also includes sections on avian news, conference diary and book reviews.

    Editor-in-Chief: Charles Deeming Editors: Tom Pike; Dale Sandercock; Claudia Wascher; Josh Firth; David Wilkinson; Jim Reynolds Production Editor: Claire Pike

    Cover image: Caribbean Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber). Credit: Jearu/Shutterstock.com.

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