Given the 80% decline of the eastern Iberian reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus witherbyi breeding population in recent decades, our aim was to identify the habitat components selected during territory establishment and to characterise the vegetation features that are positively or negatively selected at the territory scale. GLMM were used to explain the occurrence of territories in 11 wetlands. Fourteen variables with four vegetation dominance categories were analysed with respect to habitat composition, while occupancy of seven vegetation classes and 12 reed structural parameters were analysed with respect to habitat structure. The proportion of reed-cattails (Typha) measured by the habitat approach was the variable with the greatest likelihood of being the model that best fitted our data, but showed poor discriminative ability. The proportion of reed with tussocks was higher in occupied territories than in non-occupied territories. The main results are consistent with a previous study of habitat preference at a wetland scale and seem to be associated both with reduced predation risk and provision of nesting and feeding opportunities. Management guidelines to enhance the presence of the vegetation classes preferred by the species are discussed.
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Vol. 61 • No. 1