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1 July 2014 Predators and Predation Rates of Skylark Alauda arvensis and Woodlark Lullula arborea Nests in a Semi-Natural Area in the Netherlands
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Abstract
Predation is a major cause of breeding failure in bird species with open nests. Although many studies have investigated nest predation rates, direct identification of nest predators is sporadic, especially in (semi-)natural habitats. We quantified nest success and identified nest predators in a population of Skylarks Alauda arvensis and Woodlarks Lullula arborea breeding in a protected semi-natural area dominated by heathland and different succession states of grassland on nutrient-poor soil in The Netherlands. We monitored 54 nests by means of continuous video surveillance to determine survival times and predators, and monitored another 44 nests without a camera. Fates of the 58 (40) Skylark (Woodlark) nests were: fledging 41 (27), depredation 13 (12), egg desertion 1 (0) and nestling death 3 (1). The overall nest success of all monitored nests (58 (40), Mayfield estimate) was 33% (22%; all mortality factors considered) or 43% (25%; only depredation). Predators of Skylark nests were Red Fox Vulpes vulpes (5), Carrion Crow Corvus corone (1) and European Adder Vipera berus (1). Woodlark nests were depredated by Carrion Crow (2), Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius (1) and Red Fox (1). Results suggest that the main nest predators might differ between the two co-occurring lark species; Skylark nests located in more open sites were preyed upon mainly by Red Fox, while the main predators of Woodlark nests, located generally closer to trees, are corvids.
Libor Praus, Arne Hegemann, B. Irene Tieleman and Karel Weidinger "Predators and Predation Rates of Skylark Alauda arvensis and Woodlark Lullula arborea Nests in a Semi-Natural Area in the Netherlands," Ardea 102(1), (1 July 2014). https://doi.org/10.5253/078.102.0112
Received: 31 January 2014; Accepted: 18 June 2014; Published: 1 July 2014
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