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1 June 2008 Breeding Biology of the Endangered Blue Chaffinch Fringilla Teydea Polatzeki in Gran Canaria (Canary Islands)
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Abstract

The Blue Chaffinch is a passerine endemic to the Canary Islands and comprises two subspecies, one found on Tenerife (Fringilla teydea teydea) and the other on Gran Canaria (F. t. polatzeki). Even though the status of the Gran Canaria subspecies is endangered due to habitat loss and fragmentation, knowledge of its life history is anecdotal. We studied its breeding ecology during the years 1991–2004. New data are presented on breeding phenology, number of broods per year, egg biometrics, nest-site characteristics, breeding site fidelity and breeding success. In general, the breeding biology of the two subspecies were similar, with discrepancies in some previously reported traits, such as egg laying interval and frequency of second clutches. The Blue Chaffinch breeds earlier on Gran Canaria than on Tenerife: nests were begun mainly in the second fortnight of May. We did not find any relationship between the onset of egg laying and rainfall in March. However, the onset of the breeding period was negatively correlated with mean April temperature. The Blue Chaffinch showed preferences for a south-easterly nest orientation and for nest placement at the end of branches, where the nest is hidden by pine needles. Nests were located at various heights, from 5.5 to 23.8 m above the ground. 33% of females produced two broods a year. We found no differences in nest site characteristics between successful and unsuccessful nests, which suggests that other factors may be affecting the vulnerability of nests. The main cause of nesting failure (73.9%) was predation, due mostly to the Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Felipe Rodríguez and Ángel C. Moreno "Breeding Biology of the Endangered Blue Chaffinch Fringilla Teydea Polatzeki in Gran Canaria (Canary Islands)," Acta Ornithologica 43(2), (1 June 2008). https://doi.org/10.3161/000164508X395324
Received: 1 March 2008; Accepted: 1 October 2008; Published: 1 June 2008
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