Habitat selection by golden plover Pluvialis apricaria chicks

Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria) Science Article 2

abstract

Despite the listing of golden plover Pluvialis apricaria on Annex 1 of the European Directive on theConservation of Wild Birds there is virtually no information on the habitat requirements or diet oftheir chicks. We used radio telemetry to investigate habitat selection of 22 broods on two uplandstudy sites in northern England. Broods (< 16 days old) avoided old or extensive stands of heatherCalluna vulgaris but selected small patches of heather mixed with grass. They also selected marshes(mainly soft rush Juncus effusus), grassland and Eriophorum vaginatum mire. Habitat selectionbroadly fitted the distribution of their favoured prey (Tipula spp. and beetles). We suspect foodavailability, vegetation structure and cover from predators may partly explain habitat preferences.We suggest moorland could be managed for golden plover broods by managing stocking densitiesto create patchworks of grass and heather and a heterogeneous mature heather sward and byblocking drainage ditches to create areas of soft rush.

Mark Jonathan Whittingham, Stephen Mark Percival, Andren Francis Brown, Basic Appl. Ecol. 2, 177-191 (2001)

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