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Predation of artificial ground nests in Australian tropical savannas: inverse edge effects

Fraser, H. and Whitehead, Peter J. (2005). Predation of artificial ground nests in Australian tropical savannas: inverse edge effects. Wildlife Research,32(4):313-319.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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IRMA ID A00009xPUB11
Title Predation of artificial ground nests in Australian tropical savannas: inverse edge effects
Author Fraser, H.
Whitehead, Peter J.
Journal Name Wildlife Research
Publication Date 2005
Volume Number 32
Issue Number 4
ISSN 1035-3712   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-23744476409
Start Page 313
End Page 319
Total Pages 7
Publisher CSRIO Publishing
Field of Research 0608 - Zoology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Depredation of artificial ground nests was examined in tropical savanna in northern Australia to assess potential predation pressures on nests of the partridge pigeon (Geophaps smithii), a declining tropical granivore. Predation rates were examined at two sites, Kakadu National Park ( which supported a relatively high density of partridge pigeons) and Berry Springs ( which had greater habitat fragmentation and comparatively low partridge pigeon density). The effects of distance from road, understorey structure, topography and nest-microsite concealment on nest predation rates were examined. Artificial-nest predation rates were greater at 150 m from roads than < 1 m from the roadside. Predation rates did not vary with understorey structure, topography, or level of nest concealment. There was marked variation between sites, with predation levels at Kakadu more than double those recorded for Berry Springs. Discerning predator identity, or even the size of a predator, from marks left in clay eggs proved difficult and was possible for similar to 35% of predation events. Of these, 42% of predation events involved predators of a size we considered too small to take a natural partridge pigeon nest. We suggest that extrapolation from artificial to natural ground-nest predation rates be undertaken with caution for landscapes such as Australia's tropical savanna, which supports a high diversity and abundance of small potential predators of artificial nests. There was no evidence of predation by birds, and the methodology proved inadequate for identifying predation by feral cats ( Felis catus).
Keywords forest fragmentation
passerine birds
egg predation
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