Habitat influences on nest-site selection by the Painted Honeyeater (Grantiella picta): Do food resources matter?

Laurence Barea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the habitat requirements of threatened species is crucial for their effective management. This paper examines the role of mistletoe food resources and vegetative habitat structure in shaping nest-site selection by the Painted Honeyeater. Painted Honeyeaters responded to the abundance of mistletoes and the proximity of mistletoe clumps near the nest tree as well as habitat structure when selecting nest-trees. Compared with randomly selected trees, nest-trees were on average less than half the distance to the nearest mistletoe-infected host and mistletoe abundance was 2.8 times greater in the surrounding habitat. Vegetation surrounding nest-trees was more open than that surrounding randomly selected trees, but the canopy was more closed within 25 m of nest-trees. Nest-site selection by Painted Honeyeaters was best explained by a combination of mistletoe abundance, proximity of mistletoe clumps to the nest-tree and structural qualities of the surrounding habitat. Hierarchical partitioning further supported the analysis and suggests that Painted Honeyeaters respond primarily to mistletoe abundance when selecting nest-sites. This study supports a link between mistletoe resources and habitat structure and Painted Honeyeater nest-site selection. Conservation management strategies for this declining honeyeater should include effective management promoting an abundance of mistletoe populations as well as a diverse woodland community structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalEmu: austral ornithology
Volume112
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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