Intraspecific exploitation competition as a cause for density dependent breeding success in White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) was investigated. Breeding success of 101-126 pairs of White Storks was documented between 1999 and 2004 over an area of 1026 km2 and which included suboptimal foraging conditions. Pairs were classified in density groups according to the number of neighboring breeding pairs within their home range (i.e., within a radius of 1.5 km from the nest). The surface of potential feeding habitats was used as a food resource indicator and analyzed for all nests within the home range and compared among density groups. Breeding success was density dependent. Pairs breeding alone and pairs with one neighbor within the home range most frequently reared three chicks, pairs with two neighbors reared two, but pairs with three or four neighbors most frequently failed to raise a single chick. Regarding the use of organism-weighted densities expressed as the number of conspecific neighbors breeding within a pairs’ home range and foraging biology of the species, intraspecific exploitation competition was a possible cause for density dependent breeding success.
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Vol. 29 • No. 3