We studied the consequences of nest-site choice on nesting success under differing disturbance levels for the Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris). We compared nest-site choice and nest success between a disturbed site and an undisturbed site in a montane subtropical forest in northwestern Argentina. We found no overall difference in daily predation rate (DPR) between the disturbed and undisturbed sites. However, DPR of nests on bromeliads was significantly lower at the microhabitat level than on other types of subtrates at the disturbed site. T. rufiventris used bromeliads for nesting more often than expected by chance at the disturbed site. DPR did not differ between substrates at the undisturbed site and T. rufiventris used all substrates according to their availability. Nests had higher predation at the disturbed site when DPR on non-bromeliad substrates was compared between disturbed and undisturbed sites. Nest fate was independent of nest height. Our results suggest T. rufiventris' flexibility in nest-site choice, as reflected by increased use of the safest sites, i.e., bromeliads, in the disturbed site compared to the undisturbed site, may allow this species to survive in an otherwise much riskier habitat. Our results illustrate how microhabitat-scale effects can mediate landscape scale effects.
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