Artificial nest predation rates vary among habitats in the Australian monsoon tropics

Richard Noske, S Fischer, B BROOK

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    Rates of nest predation have frequently been shown to differ between fragmented and unfragmented habitats, but have rarely been compared among natural habitats in the same geographic region. In this study, artificial nests of two types (open cup and domed) were placed in four habitats (mangroves, monsoon rainforests, eucalypt woodlands and paperbark swamps) over 12 months in three localities near Darwin in the Australian monsoon tropics to determine the effects of habitat, season and nest type on the rate of nest predation. A quail egg and a similarly coloured plasticine egg were placed in each nest. Habitat had a strong effect on nest predation rates, with nests in mangroves experiencing predation rates more than four times higher than those in eucalypt woodlands and paperbark swamps. Despite the strong rainfall seasonality of the region, there was no consistent seasonal variation in nest predation rates. Nest type also had little influence on predation rates, except in paperbark swamps where open cup nests suffered a higher predation rate than domed nests. The study indicates that generalised nest predation rates for tropical regions, even for small areas (e.g. <17 km radius), might overlook substantial variation between habitats. Such variation confounds purported differences in nest predation rates between tropical and temperate regions. � 2007 The Ecological Society of Japan.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)519-527
    Number of pages9
    JournalEcological Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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