The habitat requirements of the rufous treecreeper (Climacteris rufa). 1. Preferential habitat use demonstrated at multiple spatial scales

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Abstract

Determining the habitat requirements of a species is fundamental to effective conservation, particularly if the species is declining in areas where its habitat is being modified. Multi-scaled investigations of habitat use are essential because different selection processes may operate at different scales. I examined the habitat use of a declining woodland passerine, the rufous treecreeper (Climacteris rufa), at three spatial scales (landscape, woodland and territory) in the wheatbelt of Western Australia. Preferential habitat use was exhibited at all scales. At the landscape scale, wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) woodland was used at a significantly greater rate than three other common vegetation types. Territory use within woodlands was positively related to the density of hollow-bearing logs, the density of nest sites, and tree age. Within an individual territory, nest sites (hollows) were favoured if they had a spout angle of 50° to the horizontal and an entrance size of between 5 and 10 cm. The rufous treecreeper preferentially used habitat with traits characteristic of old-growth wandoo woodland. Degradation of wandoo through habitat modification (e.g. grazing, logging, fire and removal of deadwood) represents a significant threat to the persistence of treecreepers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume105
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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