Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 477674
Title Habitat selection of brood-rearing Northern Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe and their invertebrate prey
Author(s) Oosten, H. van; Burg, A.B. Van den; Versluijs, R.; Siepel, H.
Source Ardea 102 (2014)1. - ISSN 0373-2266 - p. 61 - 69.
DOI https://doi.org/10.5253/078.102.0111
Department(s) Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) assemblage structure - nitrogen deposition - species richness - plant diversity - home-range - grasslands - conservation - communities - arthropods - migration
Abstract Birds consider both variation in prey abundance and accessibility in their decision of where to forage. Acidification and nitrogen deposition affect both prey abundance and accessibility by stimulating growth of nitrophilic grasses at the expense of forbs. Management practises such as mowing or grazing primarily affect vegetation structure which also influences the abundance and accessibility of invertebrates. Hence, for effective management and conservation purposes It is paramount to understand the relationships between vegetation structure, densities of preferred prey and habitat-use of birds. In this study we explore such relationships for the nationally endangered Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe in dune grasslands along the Dutch coast. Our findings support the hypothesis that forager mobility and food accessibility are of greater importance during patch selection than food abundance per se in ground foraging birds. The abundance of all potential prey and three of the four most important actual prey groups was highest in tall grass, but Northern Wheatears foraged preferentially in short grass. Clearly, encroachment by tall grass will diminish habitat suitability for Northern Wheatears due to lowered prey accessibility. We propose that a mixture of short and tall vegetation and landscape management allows for dispersal of arthropods between different (micro)habitats. We provide densities of the important prey in a coastal area where Northern Wheatears still successfully breed. This enables site-managers to efficiently investigate presence and abundance of important prey In seemingly suitable areas but where Northern Wheatears do not breed. Eventually we may be able to discern whether food shortage poses a bottleneck for Northern Wheatears in these uninhabited areas.
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