Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Predation on simulated duck nests in relation to nest density and landscape structure

Eliška Padyšáková A F , Martin Šálek A B , Lukáš Poledník C , František Sedláček A B and Tomáš Albrecht D E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 01, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.

B Institute of Systems Biology and Ecology v.v.i., Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Na Sádkách 7, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic.

C ALKA Wildlife, Lidéřovice 62, CZ-380 01 Dačice, Czech Republic.

D Institute of Vertebrate Biology v.v.i., Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Květná 8, CZ-603 65 Brno, Czech Republic.

E Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, CZ-128 44 Praha, Czech Republic.

F Corresponding author. Email: paddysek@centrum.cz

Wildlife Research 37(7) 597-603 https://doi.org/10.1071/WR10043
Submitted: 6 March 2010  Accepted: 19 November 2010   Published: 17 December 2010

Abstract

Context: Density-dependent predation has been recently discussed as a contributing cause of duck nest failure.

Aims: We tested whether nest density increases the nest predation rate (density-dependent predation) in patches of littoral vegetation surrounding fishponds in two contrasting landscape types, the first dominated by forest and the other dominated by agricultural fields.

Methods: In total, 576 simulated ground nests were deployed in 48 littoral patches in South Bohemia, Czech Republic, in two replicates (June and July), for two consecutive years (2005 and 2006). Nests were deployed either solitarily (low-density plots) or in groups of five nests (high-density plots).

Key results: Despite differences in local predator communities, we found no evidence of different survival rates of solitary nests and nests placed in high-density patches in either habitat. Mammalian predators were the most common nest predators, followed by birds. The composition of nest predator community depended on landscape type, with mammals predominating in forest landscape and birds in agricultural areas. Our data thus do not support the theory of density-dependent predation of duck nests in littoral patches, regardless of predominant nest predator type.

Conclusions: Based on our results, we conclude that nest predator responses to different habitats are complex, taxon specific, and context dependent.

Implications: Conservation efforts for waterfowl may need to be customised according to the nest-predator species primarily responsible for local nest mortality and the nature of the landscape mosaic.

Additional keywords: density-dependent predation, littoral patch, landscape type, nest predators, nest success, simulated nests.


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