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Landscape Ecology

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 1059–1071 | Cite as

On the seasonal effect of landscape structure on a bird species: the thorn-tailed rayadito in a relict forest in northern Chile

  • Pablo M. Vergara
  • Pablo A. Marquet
Research Article

Abstract

Forest bird species exhibit noticeable seasonal behavioral changes that might lead to contrasting effects of landscape pattern upon species abundance and performance. We assessed if the effect of patch and habitat attributes on the landscape use of thorn-tailed rayaditos (Aphrastura spinicauda), a forest bird in a relict patchy forest in northern Chile, varied temporally in association with changes in the behavior of individuals linked to breeding vs. non-breeding conditions. We also assessed the relationship between nest success and patch and habitat attributes, as nest success might be associated to the density rayaditos during the breeding season. We found that density of rayaditos was affected by patch size and functional connectivity but not by habitat structure and that the magnitude of the effect of patch size was greater during the non-breeding season, thus supporting the existence of a temporally variable effect of landscape pattern. Similarly, the nest success of rayaditos was positively affected by functional connectivity and negatively by structural connectivity. We hypothesize that these results emerged from the interaction among territorial behavior, resource limitation and predation risk. Despite the variable intensity of the effect of patch size upon density, however, this landscape attribute, in addition to connectivity, is essential for the persistence of rayaditos at this relict patchy forest landscapes.

Keywords

Seasonal change Patch connectivity Thorn-tailed rayaditos 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was financed by AT-4040007 CONICYT fellowship, FONDAP-FONDECYT 1501-0001 and ICM (P05-002). We thank to Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF) for granting us access to the Fray Jorge National Park for our study. We also thank to J. M. Torres-Hidalgo and E. Ruiz for their help and assistance. We also thank S. Abades for suggestions and assistance with the R programming language and T.O. Crist for his comments and suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript. Part of this work was conducted while PM was a Sabbatical Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a Center funded by NSF (Grant #DEB-0072909), the University of California, and the Santa Barbara campus.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Advanced Studies in Ecology and Biodiversity (CASEB), Departamento de EcologíaPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Ecology and Biodiversity Institute (IEB)SantiagoChile

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