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Territory characteristics and coexistence with heterospecifics in the Dartford warbler Sylvia undata across a habitat gradient

AutorPons, Pere; Bas, Josep M.; Prodon, R.; Rura-Pascual, Núria; Clavero, Miguel
Palabras claveContender pressure hypothesis
cues hypothesis
Territory size
Territory overlap
Local guilds
Fecha de publicación2008
CitaciónBehav Ecol Sociobiol (2008) 62:1217–1228
ResumenThe study of successional gradients may help to understand the relative influence of habitat structure and competition on territory characteristics. Here, we evaluate the effects of vegetation cover, conspecific and hetero- specific densities, and distance to the nearest neighbor on territory size, shape, and overlap in insectivorous birds. We studied these effects along a gradient of postfire habitat regeneration in which foliage cover and densities of focal species varied several-fold. We delineate 197 territo- ries (minimum convex polygons) of the shrub-dwelling Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata) and 255 of the syntopic Sardinian (Sylvia melanocephala), subalpine (Sylvia cantillans) and melodious (Hippolais polyglotta) warblers at three plots in NE Catalonia (Spain and France) in 1987– 2005. After accounting for the effect of the number of locations used to delineate polygons, generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) showed a reduction in territory area of the Dartford warbler as conspecific density increased and distance to nearest neighbor decreased, in accordance with the contender pressure hypothesis for territory size regulation. Heterospecific density was not included in the final model of territory size and the effect of habitat structure was marginal. Territory roundness was positively correlated with its size and with conspecific density, probably in relation to energetic constraints, and negatively with heterospecific density. Territorial exclusion was almost complete among Dartford warblers, whereas interspecific territory overlap was extensive and tended to increase with heterospecific density and with structural diversity along the gradient. Our results support the hypothesis that Mediterranean warbler coexistence derives from ecological segregation and not from interspecific territoriality.
Versión del editorhttp://www.springerlink.com/content/qp143q7516rx263l/fulltext.pdf
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