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Nest Site Selection by Yellow-Faced Honeyeaters Lichenostomus chrysops

Rebecca L. Boulton, Phillip Cassey, Clinton Schipper and Michael F. Clarke
Journal of Avian Biology
Vol. 34, No. 3 (Sep., 2003), pp. 267-274
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3677475
Page Count: 8
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Nest Site Selection by Yellow-Faced Honeyeaters Lichenostomus chrysops
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Abstract

When choosing subsequent nest sites, species that produce multiple broods in a single breeding season have the option of dispersing from a site where they previously suffered depredation, i.e., a predator-avoidance tactic. In our study on yellow-faced honeyeaters Lichenostomus chrysops it was found that 89% of nest failures were attributed to nest depredation, the primary cause of reproductive failure. Pairs re-nested further from depredated nesting attempts than from successful nesting attempts and progressively higher above the ground as the breeding season progressed. Pairs nesting in dioecious Coprosma quadrifida plants only nested in non-fruiting male plants. Artificial nests were used to test the hypothesis that nest height and plant preferences were strategies to reduce the risk of depredation. There was no evidence that either higher nests or nests in non-fruiting C. quadrifida achieved reduced levels of depredation during 14 days of artificial nest exposure. Specific nest site characteristics were not found to be associated with nest outcome for either natural or artificial nests. Our study provides further evidence that species may choose a diverse range of nest sites in order to avoid predators from developing specific search images and then, following depredation, compensate by rapidly re-nesting away from the failed attempt.

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