The influence of the characteristics of habitat fragments on the dynamics of avian communities and the effect that fragments of different sizes have on the stability of the breeding species composition, and also on local extinction, colonisation and turnover rates were studied in an agricultural landscape in southern Poland. The fragments included various habitat types that differed from the matrix. Breeding birds were surveyed using the territory mapping method to assess turnover. Species composition depended on both the spatial structure of a fragment and the features of its surroundings. Local declines and appearances of species had a similar influence on the turnover in all size classes of the fragments. Species that contributed most to the total turnover were: Lanius collurio, Phasianus colchicus, Anas platyrhynchos, Emberiza schoeniclus, Columba palumbus and Sylvia communis. However, there were differences among species contributing most to the turnover according to area size classes. Heterogeneous habitats in a mosaic-like, agricultural landscape do not function as islands. The existence of species in an area with such a level of habitat patchiness can be related primarily to habitat quality, mainly because of poor isolation and the high permeability of isolating habitats.
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Vol. 39 • No. 2