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Dispersal Distances of Nuthatches, Sitta europaea, in a Highly Fragmented Forest Habitat

Erik Matthysen, Frank Adriaensen and André A. Dhondt
Oikos
Vol. 72, No. 3 (Apr., 1995), pp. 375-381
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3546123
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3546123
Page Count: 7
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Dispersal Distances of Nuthatches, Sitta europaea, in a Highly Fragmented Forest Habitat
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Abstract

We studied dispersal distances of nuthatches in a highly fragmented landscape with only 2% of its area covered by suitable habitat (mature forest and parkland). We estimate that most surviving nestlings settled outside the 200-km2 study area, and that mean dispersal distance was several times larger compared to more densely forested landscapes. However, local recruitment, defined as the proportion of nestlings settling within a small number of territories from the site of birth, did not differ between this study and other studies in large forests. Once young nuthatches had settled, they were less likely to move again in the fragmented landscape compared to large forests. We conclude that fragmentation causes an increase in natal dispersal distance but no discernible change in the number of territories between birth and establishment. However, fragmentation does effectively induce isolation once the young birds have settled.

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