Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 719–732 | Cite as

Differences in home-range sizes of a bird species in its original, refuge and substitution habitats: challenges to conservation in anthropogenic habitats

  • Laurent Godet
  • Clément Harmange
  • Matthieu Marquet
  • Emmanuel Joyeux
  • Jérôme Fournier
Original Paper


In the current context of the anthropocene, the original habitats of many species have been modified or destroyed. Animals may be forced to move from their original habitats, either to refuge habitats that are suboptimal natural habitats, or to substitution habitats that are anthropogenic. The quality of refuge habitats may be lower than that of the original ones, whereas substitution habitats may be of a similar or even better quality. Here, we test this hypothesis empirically, using the example of coastal populations of the bluethroat, Luscinina svecica namnetum. In a radio-tracking survey, we compared the home-range sizes (considered here a proxy of habitat quality) of the breeding males in their original (coastal saltmarshes), refuge (inland reedbeds) and substitution (coastal salinas) habitats. We found that home ranges are up to 15 times larger in the substitution habitat than in the original one, and intermediate in the refuge habitat, suggesting that substitution habitats have the lowest quality and original habitats the highest. To date, most studies and conservation programs related to this species have focused on its substitution habitats. This result challenges the interest of focusing on anthropogenic habitats when studying and conserving such a species, because such habitats may only be low-quality substitutes.


Radio tracking Anthropocene France Wetland Habitat quality Ideal free distribution 



This study was supported by the Parc Naturel Régional de Brière, the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (ONCFS), the Parc Naturel Régional du Marais Poitevin, and the Centre de Recherche sur la Biologie des Populations d’Oiseaux (CRBPO) of the French National Museum of Natural History. Thank you to Elisa Grégoire, Sarah Monnet, Estelle Malo and Julie Dietrich for their field work, and to all the salt-workers of the Marais du Mès for making them welcome during the field surveys. We also thank Marie-Christine Eybert (CNRS) for her knowledge and help in the field, as well as Jacques Marquis (ONCFS), Alain Thomas, and Arild Johnsen (Natural History Museum of Oslo) and his team for their help in the field. Special thanks to Clément and Pierre Godet for helpful comments on a previous draft.

Supplementary material

10531_2017_1460_MOESM1_ESM.docx (301 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 301 kb)
10531_2017_1460_MOESM2_ESM.docx (381 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 382 kb)


  1. Adam P (2002) Saltmarsh in a time of change. Environ Conserv 29:39–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arizaga J, Andueza M, Tamayo I (2013) Spatial behavior and habitat use of first-year Bluethroats Luscinia svecica stopping over at costal marshes during the autumn migration period. Acta Ornithol 48:17–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailly J, Scheifler R, Berthe S, Clément-Demenge VA, Leblond M, Pasteur P, Faivre B (2016) From eggs to fledging: negative impact of urban habitat on reproduction in two tit species. J Ornithol 157:377–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berndt AM, Hölzel N (2012) Energy crops as a new bird habitat: utilization of oilseed rape fields by the rare Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica). Biodivers Conserv 21:527–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boal CW, Mannan RW (1999) Comparative breeding ecology of Cooper’s hawks in urban and exurban areas of southeastern Arizona. J Wildl Manag 63:77–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boutaud AS (2015) Les moineaux des villes en péril. Le Journal du CNRS en ligne.
  7. Brown JL (1969) The buffer effect and productivity in tit populations. Am Nat 103:347–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burt WH (1943) Territoriality and home range concepts as applied to mammals. J Mammal 24:346–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caccamise DF, Hedin RS (1985) An aerodynamic basis for selecting transmitter loads in birds. Wilson Bull 97:306–318Google Scholar
  10. Calenge C (2006) The package adehabitat for the R software: a tool for the analysis of space and habitat used by animals. Ecol Model 197:516–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chace JF, Walsh JJ (2006) Urban effects on native avifauna: a review. Landscape Urban Plan 74:46–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Constant P, Eybert MC (1995) Population structure of bluethroat during a phase of recovery. In: Bellan D, Bonin G, Emig C (eds) Functioning and dynamics of natural and perturbed ecosystems. Lavoisiers/Tec & Doc, Paris, pp 684–700Google Scholar
  13. Cringan AT, Horak GC (1989) Effects of urbanization on raptors in the western United States. In: Proceedings of the Western Raptor management symposium and workshop. National Wildlife Federation, Washington DC, pp 219–228Google Scholar
  14. Crooks KR, Soulé ME (1999) Mesopredator release and avifaunal extinctions in a fragmented system. Nature 400:563–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Châteaubriant A (1985) La Brière. Grasset, ParisGoogle Scholar
  16. De Cornulier T, Bernard R, Arroyo B, Bretagnolle V (1997) Extension géographique et écologique de la Gorgebleue à miroir Luscinia svecica dans le centre-ouest de la France. Alauda 65:1–6Google Scholar
  17. Desgranges JL, Reed A (1981) Distances and control of doublecrested cormorants in Quebec. Colon Waterbird 4:12–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dietrich J, Ellenberg H (1981) Aspects of goshawk urban ecology. In: Kenward RE, Lindsay IM (eds) Understanding the Goshawk. International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 163–175Google Scholar
  19. Dominik C, Ménanteau L, Chadenas C, Godet L (2012) The influence of salina landscape structures on terrestrial bird distribution in the Guérande basin (Northwestern France). Bird Study 59:483–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Doody JP (2007) Saltmarsh conservation, management and restoration. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  21. Efford MG, Dawson DK, Jhala YV, Qureshi Q (2015) Density-dependent home-range size revealed by spatially explicit capture-recapture. Ecography 39:676–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eybert MC (2008) La Gorgebleue. In: Marchadour B, Séchet E (eds) Avifaune prioritaire en Pays de la Loire, Coordination régionale LPO pays de la Loire, Conseil Régional des Pays de la Loire. UICN France, Fontainebleau, pp 152–153Google Scholar
  23. Eybert MC, Questiau S (1999) Gorgebleue à miroir blanc de Nantes Luscinia svecica namnetum. In: Rocamora G, Yeatman-Berthelot D (eds) Oiseaux menacés et à surveiller en France. Listes rouges et recherche de priorités. Population, tendances, menaces, conservation. Société d’Etudes Ornithologiques de France/Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseau, Paris, pp 484–485Google Scholar
  24. Forré P, Ménanteau L (2007) Géoarchéologie du golfe de Machecoul du Néolithique au Moyen-Age. Bull Soc Hist Pays Retz 26:5–16Google Scholar
  25. Fournier J, Godet L, Grégoire E, Marquet M, Eybert MC (2013) Radiopistage sur la Gorgebleue à miroir Luscinia svecica namnetum: une technique robuste et fiable pour la pose d’émetteurs. Alauda 81:139–142Google Scholar
  26. Fretwell SD, Lucas HL Jr (1970) territorial behavior and other factors influencing habitat distribution in birds. I. Theoretical development. Acta Biotheor 19:16–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gabriel DN (2013) Habitat use and activity patterns as an indication of fragment quality in a Strepsirrhine primate. Int J Primatol 34:388–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Geslin T, Lefeuvre JC, Le Pajolec Y, Questiau S, Eybert MC (2002) Salt exploitation and landscape structure in a breeding population of the threatened bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) in saltpans in western France. Biol Conserv 107:283–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Geslin T, Eybert MC, Radureau A (2006) Influence of natural and anthropic perturbations on the distribution of salt marsh breeding birds in the Mont Saint-Michel Bay. Cah Biol Mar 47:23–30Google Scholar
  30. Gill JA, Norris K, Potts PM, Gunnarsson TG, Atkinson PW, Sutherland WJ (2001) The buffer effect and large-scale population regulation in migratory birds. Nature 412:436–438CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Godet L, Marquet M, Eybert MC, Grégoire E, Monnet S, Fournier J (2015) Bluethroats Luscinia svecica namnetum offset landscape constraints by expanding their home range. J Ornithol 156:591–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Godet L, Devictor V, Burel F, Robin JG, Ménanteau L, Fournier J (2016) Extreme landscapes decrease taxonomic and functional bird diversity but promote the presence of rare species. Acta Ornithol 51:23–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Groom DW (1993) Magpie Pica pica predation on Blackbird Turdus merula nests in urban areas. Bird Study 40:55–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Guermeur Y, Monnat JY (1980) Gorgebleue Luscinia svecica. In: Guermeur Y, Monnat JY (eds) Histoire et géographie des oiseaux nicheurs de Bretagne. SEPNB, Centrale ornithologique, Ar Vran, Brest, pp 139–141Google Scholar
  35. Guetté A, Joyeux E, Corre F, Haie S, Godet L (2016) Old and unmowed saltmarsh patches provide attractive habitats for breeding passerines. Wetl Ecol Manag 24:477–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Harestad AS, Bunnell FL (1979) Home range and body weight—a re-evaluation. Ecology 60:389–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hooke R, Le Martín-Duque JF (2012) Land transformation by humans: a review. GSA Today 22:4–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Horak GC (1986) Cumulative effects of rapid urbanization on winter avian diversity in northeastern Colorado. PhD Thesis, Colorado State University, Fort CollinsGoogle Scholar
  39. James PC, Smith AR, Oliphant LW, Warkentin IG (1987) Northward expansion of the wintering range of Richardson’s merlin. J Field Ornithol 58:112–117Google Scholar
  40. Julliard R, Clavel J, Devictor V, Jiguet F, Couvet D (2006) Spatial segregation of specialists and generalists in bird communities. Ecol Lett 9:1237–1244CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Knottnerus OS (2005) History of human settlement, cultural change and interference with the marine environment. Helgoland Mar Res 59:2–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Krokene C, Anthonisen K, Lifjeld JT, Amundsen T (1996) Paternity and paternity assurance in the Bluethroat Luscinia s. svecica. Anim Behav 52:405–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kury CR, Gochfeld M (1975) Human interference and gull predation in cormorant colonies. Biol Conserv 8:23–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Marquet M, Masclaux H, Champagnon J, Eybert MC (2014) Sélection de l’habitat, biologie de la reproduction et estimation de la population chez la Gorgebleue à miroir blanc de Nantes Luscinia svecica namnetum dans les marais briérons. Alauda 82:177–192Google Scholar
  45. Martínez-Abraín A, Jiménez J (2016) Anthropogenic areas as incidental substitutes for original habitat. Conserv Biol 30:593–598CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Mate I, Barrull J, Ruiz-Olmo J, Gosalbez J, Salicrú M (2016) Spatial organization and intraspecific relationships of the southern water vole (Arvicola sapidus) in a Mediterranean mountain river: what is the role of habitat quality? Mammal Res 61:255–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mayaud N (1938) La Gorge-bleue à miroir en France. Alauda 10:116–136Google Scholar
  48. Mayaud N (1958) La Gorgebleue à miroir Luscinia svecica en Europe. Evolution de ses populations. Zones d’hivernage. Alauda 26:290–301Google Scholar
  49. Miller JR, Hobbs NT (2000) Recreational trails, human activity, and nest predation in lowland riparian areas. Landscape Urban Plan 50:227–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Miller SG, Knight RL, Miller CK (1998) Influence of recreational trails on breeding bird communities. Ecol Appl 8:162–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mohr CO (1947) Table of equivalent populations of North American small mammals. Am Midl Nat 37:223–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Newton I (1986) The Sparrowhawk. T. et A. D. Poyser Ltd, CaltonGoogle Scholar
  53. Questiau S, Eybert MC, Taberlet P (1999) Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers reveal extra-pair parentage in a bird species: the Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica). Mol Ecol 8:1331–1339CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. R Development Core Team (2013) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R foundation for statistical computing, Vienna.
  55. Schulze A (2004) Les oiseaux d’Europe, d’Afrique du Nord et d’Asie occidentale. Musikverlag Edition AMPLE, GermeringGoogle Scholar
  56. Seaman DE, Millspaugh JJ, Kernohan BJ, Brundige GC, Raedeke KJ, Gitzen RA (1999) Effects of sample size on kernel home range estimates. J Wildl Manag 63:739–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Smiseth T, Amundsen T (1995) Female Bluethroats (Luscinia s. svecica) regularly visit territories of extrapair males before egg laying. Auk 112:1049–1053CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Soloviev AN (1991) Population dynamics in Corvidae birds under changing of urban landscape. Ornitologiya 25:84–88Google Scholar
  59. Thompson IB (1999) The role of artisan technology and indigenous knowledge transfer in the survival of a classic cultural landscape: the salt-marsh of Guérande, Loire-Atlantique, France. J Hist Geogr 25:216–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vengerov PD (1992) Comparison of morphological parameters of birds from natural and urbanized habitats. Sov J Ecol 23:16–21Google Scholar
  61. Vergara PM, Saura S, Pérez-Hernández CG, Soto GE (2015) Hierarchical spatial decisions in fragmented landscapes: modeling the foraging movements of woodpeckers. Ecol Model 300:114–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. White G, Garott R (1990) Analysis of wildlife radio-tracking data. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  63. Williams HM, Willemoes M, Klaassen RHG, Standberg R, Thorup K (2016) Common Cuckoo home ranges are larger in the breeding season than in the non-breeding season and in regions of sparse forest cover. J Ornithol 157:461–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Worton BJ (1987) A review of models of home range for animal movement. Ecol Model 38:277–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurent Godet
    • 1
  • Clément Harmange
    • 2
  • Matthieu Marquet
    • 2
  • Emmanuel Joyeux
    • 3
  • Jérôme Fournier
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.CNRS, Université de Nantes, UMR LETGNantes Cedex 03France
  2. 2.Parc Naturel Régional de BrièreSt. JoachimFrance
  3. 3.Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (ONCFS), Délégation interrégionale Bretagne et Pays de la Loire, Réserve Naturelle Nationale de la Baie de l’AiguillonSainte Radégonde-des-NoyersFrance
  4. 4.CRBPOFrench National Museum of Natural HistoryParisFrance
  5. 5.CNRS, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, UMR BOREAConcarneau CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations