Predation is one of the most important factors influencing breeding success. Many bird species suffer from high losses because of predators. I studied breeding success and replacement broods in the Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva. The Red-breasted Flycatcher is a small bird breeding in natural holes in dense deciduous and mixed forests of Europe. Data were collected during twelve breeding seasons in a primeval forest, in the Bialowieża National Park, Northeast Poland, the best preserved and protected area of the Białowieża Forest with a rich community of birds and mammals including predators. Almost half of the broods of the Red-breasted Flycatcher were lost and most of them because of predation. In cases where the brood was lost in the period of egg laying or incubation, females tended to lay a replacement clutch. First and replacement nest-sites differed insignificantly in characteristics, but new clutches were always laid in a new site. Out of 68 broods, in which a loss was found, replacement broods were recorded in 47.1% cases. Replacement clutches were much smaller and pairs raised significantly fewer fledglings. The proportions of successful and lost broods were similar in the first and replacement attempts (56.1%, and 46.7%, respectively). Red-breasted Flycatchers choose shallow nest-sites that allow the females to observe their surroundings. This allows the female to escape from the nest when a predator approaches, increasing the possibility of a repeat clutch and the attainment of breeding success in the same season.
Vol. 57 • No. 1
Vol. 57 • No. 1