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Nesting success and within-season breeding dispersal in the Orange-breasted Sunbird Anthobaphes violacea

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Nest predation is a primary cause of nesting mortality for many bird species, particularly passerines. Nest location can affect predation, and it has also been demonstrated that predation risk can alter nest site selection. Birds can limit predation risk by selecting specific habitat characteristics; by changing nest site characteristics between attempts; and by dispersing between nesting events. Here we report breeding data from a population of Orange-breasted Sunbirds Anthobaphes violacea (L.), for a single breeding season in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, South Africa. Neither shrub type nor nest height was found to affect the outcome of a nest. For subsequent breeding attempts, birds were not more likely to change the type of shrub in which they nested after a predation event than when the attempt was successful, nor did they change the height of their nest. However, we found that the distance between a nest and the subsequent one was significantly shorter after a successful nest than after an unsuccessful one. We interpret this as an adaptive strategy to avoid predation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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