We studied habitat choice, distribution and reproductive success in the Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca in relation to the spatial structure of a fragmented forest area. Two hierarchical levels of forest habitat structure were used: (1) forest patch size (macrohabitat) and (2) vegetative structure within forest patches (microhabitat). In spring, both males and females settled preferentially in large and medium-sized forest stands (> 1 ha) where breeding density was also higher than in small stands (≤1 ha). Stands ≤5 ha were occupied later, and the proportion of unpaired males was higher there than in large stands (>5 ha). The known age distributions of breeding birds and breeding success were independent of forest patch size. Nest predation rate was not associated with stand size or nest distance from the forest edge. The preference of breeding birds for large forest patches was presumably related to the higher amount of resources (nest sites, mates, food) a large patch can offer for reproduction compared with a small patch. At the microhabitat level, territories of old males were characterized by relatively more deciduous trees that contained more invertebrate food than coniferous tree-dominated territories of yearling males. The reproductive success of old males, as measured by the number of fledged young per male, was higher than that of yearling males. This suggests that the larger body size and blacker plumage of old males possibly contributed to male dominance and that old males excluded younger males from preferred habitats through territorial behaviour. Our results suggest that habitat choice of the Pied Flycatcher was affected by both micro- and macrohabitat. On the basis of settlement pattern, density and reproductive success, the distribution of Pied Flycatchers across forest stands of different sizes followed the ideal-free distribution model, whereas at the microhabitat level, age-related unequal distribution of males followed the ideal-despotic model of Fretwell and Lucas.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Ibis : International Journal of Avian Science|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|
|MoEC publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Field of science
- Ecology, evolutionary biology