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1 July 2004 A Comparison of Two European Breeding Habitats of the Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Gerard H. J. De Kroon
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The study was carried out in two sites — fluvial mires (FM) in Netherlands, and at salt marshes (SM) and at the borders of lagoons (BL) in Spain. All 58 nests were found in unmown and ungrazed vegetation. Carex species were dominant at the nesting sites FM, but not Phragmites australis. Juncus maritimus was dominant in the SM and at the BL. The plant communities at and around the nest sites of FM differed from those of SM BL. At nest height from the side the nest was mostly only poorly visible. Nests at nest height and eggs at observer eye level were invisible among dense clusters of Juncus maritimus tussocks. Visibility of eggs in reed stands mixed with Carex species and in Sparganium erectum stands was mostly poor and moderate respectively. This was in contrast to nests situated among Juncus maritimus stems. For the most part, an incubating Water Rail on the nest at eye-level was hardly visible in any of the various stands. The vegetation height of nest sites in SM and BL was considerably less than in FM owed to the absence of Phragmites australis. The nest height in tussocks of Juncus maritimus was greater. The other nests characteristics (diameter, depth and weight) were not significantly different in FM and SM BL. The nest material corresponded to the plant species in the immediate vicinity of the nest.



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Gerard H. J. De Kroon "A Comparison of Two European Breeding Habitats of the Water Rail Rallus aquaticus," Acta Ornithologica 39(1), 21-27, (1 July 2004).
Received: 1 August 2003; Accepted: 1 March 2004; Published: 1 July 2004

breeding habitat
nest measurements
nest site
Rallus aquaticus
vegetation structure
Water Rail
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