Breeding success of Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata in southern England - is woodland a good habitat for this species?
Stevens, D. K., Anderson, G. Q. A., Grice, P. V. and Norris, K. (2006) Breeding success of Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata in southern England - is woodland a good habitat for this species? In: Conference on Woodland Birds - Their Ecology and Management, Leicester, ENGLAND, pp. 214-223.
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The UK population of the Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata has declined markedly in the last 30 years but there have been few recent studies of the species. This study examined the relationship between nest success and the predominant habitat type around Spotted Flycatcher nests in two contrasting areas of England. A breeding population in eastern England, a region where numbers of Spotted Flycatchers are known to have decreased dramatically in recent decades, was compared with another in southwest England, where numbers have remained stable or even increased. Whilst there was no difference in breeding success between the two study areas, there were significant differences between habitats, with garden nests more successful than those in farmland or woodland, at both egg and chick stages. Estimates of productivity per nesting attempt were also lower in farmland and woodland, with nests in gardens fledging twice as many chicks as those in either woodland or farmland. The proximate cause of lower success in farmland and woodland was higher nest predation rates during both egg and chick stages. In terms of nesting success, farmland and woodland appear to be similar in quality for this species, but both appear to be suboptimal habitats when compared with gardens, providing evidence of a problem on the breeding grounds for this species, in at least these two habitats.