© Marcel Burkhardt
Vögeli, M., S. Kofler, R. Spaar & M. U. Grüebler (2018)
Experimenteller Test von sozialer Attraktion als Massnahme zur Artenförderung des Braunkehlchens Saxicola rubetra.
WhinCHAT 3: 60–67
Several territorial bird species use social cues (e.g. the presence of conspecifics) to settle and select a breeding habitat. As a consequence, artificially provided cues within a conservation management framework could potentially attract birds to suitable habitat. This study tested experimentally whether the settlement behaviour of the Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) could be influenced by broadcasting songs of the species (playback), including potential interactions with habitat quality (three levels: low, intermediate, and high) and the spatial configuration of the species distribution in the study area. The study additionally tested whether artificial perches affected the settlement behaviour of the Whinchat. The playback had neither a positive nor a negative effect on the studied parameters (presence, settling, pair-bonding, breeding attempt, breeding success). However, all of them showed a strong association with the proximity of the extant core populations. In addition, Whinchats avoided the low quality plots and their settlement behaviour was not influenced by the artificial perches. No interactions between the playback and the habitat quality or the distance to the Whinchat core areas were detected. Social attraction, site fidelity or habitat characteristics might lead to the found strong spatial pattern. However, and contrary to our expectations, broadcasting Whinchat songs did not influence the settlement behaviour of the species. These outcomes must be integrated in current and future conservation management of Whinchats. Conservation measures for Whinchats must focus even more on the conservation of existing populations and the improvement of habitat inside existing core populations and up to ca. 2 km distance to them.