Placement, survival and predator identity of Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata nests on lowland grass-heath

Zielonka, Natalia B., Hawkes, Robert W., Jones, Helen, Burnside, John J. ORCID: and Dolman, Paul M. ORCID: (2020) Placement, survival and predator identity of Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata nests on lowland grass-heath. Bird Study, 66 (4). pp. 471-483. ISSN 0006-3657

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Capsule: Within the UK’s largest lowland Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata population, curlew preferentially nested on physically disturbed (treated) than undisturbed (control) grassland, and low nest survival rates were primarily attributable to predation by Red Fox Vulpes vulpes. Aims: To inform conservation interventions for Curlew within semi-natural lowland dry-grassland landscapes. Methods: Across a 3700 ha lowland dry-grassland landscape, over two years, effects of ground-disturbance management on Curlew nest placement (n = 41) were examined using generalized linear models controlling for vegetation strata. The effects of site and management on nest survival (n = 44) were also examined, controlling for lay date and year. Nest predator identity was investigated using temperature sensors (n = 28) and nest cameras (n = 10). Results: Curlews were five times more likely to nest on physically disturbed than undisturbed grassland. Nest survival (overall mean ± se = 0.24 ± 0.07) was not influenced by year or ground-disturbance but declined with lay date and differed markedly between the two sites, consistent with predator control. Predation accounted for 29/32 failed nests and was predominantly at night (17/23 cases where timing was known), consistent with mammalian predators. Cameras indicated Red Foxes to be the main predator (4/5 cases). Overall breeding productivity was 0.16 ± 0.01 (SE) chicks per nesting attempt. Conclusion: Curlew suffered from unsustainably high rates of nest predation primarily attributable to Red Foxes. A combination of perimeter fencing and lethal predator control appeared to improve nest success at one site. Ground-disturbance treatment could encourage nesting attempts in areas managed to minimize predator density.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: birds,breeding success,consequences,habitat,improves,lapwing vanellus-vanellus,management,risk,site selection,upland
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Biology
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Dec 2019 03:25
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 05:38
DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2020.1725421

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