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6 April 2022 Effects of nest site selection and nest concealment on nest survival of Gosling's Bunting (Emberiza goslingi)
Thaddeus A. Pev, Adams A. Chaskda, Fidelis A. Atuo, Shiiwua A. Manu
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Selecting nest sites that provide access to resources and reduce predation risk is crucial to maximizing fitness in breeding birds. Therefore, understanding what habitat features influence nest site selection and nest success is a key component of avian conservation because it allows for identification and protection of habitat that will promote population growth. We examined drivers of nest success in Gosling's Bunting (Emberiza goslingi) by evaluating variables that influence nest site choice and nest survival at 23 nests and an equal number of random, paired, non-nesting locations in a tropical savannah landscape in north-central Nigeria. Gosling's Buntings exhibited a nonrandom nest-placement pattern. Nests were either on or in proximity to large rock surfaces with nesting probability increasing when the immediate nesting area (100 m radius around the nest) consisted of 30–60% bare rock. Compared to random non-nesting sites, buntings selected areas that were low in litter cover and/or had short grass height. Daily nest survival probability was high (0.96) and was positively associated with the proportion of bare rock around the nest but negatively with the amount of litter cover. Although hatching success was 56.9%, only 30% of all nesting attempts successfully fledged a chick suggesting that nest failure occurred mostly at advanced stages of nesting (nestling phase) when renesting is less likely. Nest survival was higher at low concealment, but only significantly higher than nest failure within a restricted concealment range of 45–54%. Our findings show that microhabitat features could benefit reproduction and daily nest survival. Furthermore, by linking nest-site attributes with fitness indices, we highlight the potential importance of fitness measures as a key component of habitat quality assessment for these buntings in tropical savannahs.

Thaddeus A. Pev, Adams A. Chaskda, Fidelis A. Atuo, and Shiiwua A. Manu "Effects of nest site selection and nest concealment on nest survival of Gosling's Bunting (Emberiza goslingi)," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 133(4), 579-588, (6 April 2022).
Received: 27 October 2020; Accepted: 1 October 2021; Published: 6 April 2022
Amurum Forest Reserve
habitat selection
nest concealment
nest predation
nest survival
tropical savannah landscape
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