Conspecific cues and breeding habitat selection in an endangered woodland warbler
Authors: S. L. Farrell, M. L. Morrison, A. J. Campomizzi, R. N. Wilkins
Pairing and reproductive success of males was not correlated with canopy cover, as commonly thought. Pairing success and fledging success increased with increasing territory density suggesting that conspecific density may be more important for habitat selection decisions than the canopy cover conditions typically thought to be most important. These results suggest the range of habitat within which birds can perform successfully may be greater than is typically observed.
Our results suggest the territory selection process may not be substantially influenced by competition in some systems. Settlement in response to conspecific cues produced aggregations within larger areas of similar vegetative characteristics. Understanding what cues drive habitat selection decisions and whether these cues are correlated with habitat quality is critical for conserving fitness-enhancing habitats, avoiding creation of ecological traps, generating accurate predictions of species distributions and understanding how occupancy relates to habitat suitability.
Farrell, S. L., Morrison, M. L., Campomizzi, A. J. and Wilkins, R. N. (2012), Conspecific cues and breeding habitat selection in an endangered woodland warbler. Journal of Animal Ecology, 81: 1056–1064. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2012.01995.x