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. VergaraEmail author
  • Pablo A. Marquet
Research Article


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.


Seasonal change Patch connectivity Thorn-tailed rayaditos 



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.


  1. Alonso JA, Alonso JC, Carrascal LM, Muñoz-Pulido R (1994) Flock size and foraging decisions in central place foraging white storks, Ciconia ciconia. Behavior 129:279–292Google Scholar
  2. Andersson M (1981) Central place foraging in the Whinchat, Saxicola Rubetra. Ecology 62:538–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrén H (1994) Effects of habitat fragmentation on birds and mammals in landscapes with different proportions of suitable habitat: a review. Oikos 71:355–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrén H, Delin A, Seiler A (1997) Population responses to landscape changes depends on specialization to different landscape elements. Oikos 80:193–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Angelstam P (1986) Predation on ground-nesting birds’ nests in relation to predator densities and habitat edge. Oikos 47:365–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barbosa O, Marquet PA (2002) Effects of forest fragmentation on the beetle assemblage at the relict forests of Fray Jorge, Chile. Oecologia 132:296–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bibby CJ, Burgess ND, Hill DA (1992) Bird census techniques. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowman R, Woolfenden GE (2002) Nest site selection by Florida Scrub-jays in natural and human-modified habitats. Wilson Bull 114:128–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buckland ST, Anderson DR, Burnham KP, Laake JL (1993) Distance sampling. Estimating abundance of biological populations. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and inference. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapa-Vargas L, Robinson SK (2006) Nesting success of a songbird in a complex floodplain forest landscape in Illinois, USA: local fragmentation vs. vegetation structure. Landscape Ecol 21:525–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cliff AD, Ord JK (1981) Spatial processes, models and applications. Pion Limited, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Cooper CB, Walters JR, Ford H (2002) Effects of remnant size and connectivity on the response of Brown Treecreepers to habitat fragmentation. Emu 102:249–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cornelius C, Cofré H, Marquet PA (2000) The effects of habitat fragmentation on bird species in a relict temperate forest in semiarid Chile. Conserv Biol 14:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Del-Val E, Armesto JJ, Barbosa O, Christie DA, Gutiérrez AG, Jones CG, Marquet PA, Weathers KC (2006) Rain forest islands in the Chilean semiarid region: fog-dependency, ecosystem persistence and tree regeneration. Ecosystems 9:598–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Estades CF, Escobar MAH, Tomasevic JA, Vukasovic MA, Páez M (2006) Mist-nets versus point counts in the estimation of forest bird abundances in South-Central Chile. Ornitol Neotrop 17:203–212Google Scholar
  17. Gajardo R (1993) La vegetación natural de Chile. Editorial Universitaria, SantiagoGoogle Scholar
  18. Haila Y (1990) Toward an ecological definition of an island: a northwest European perspective. J Biogeogr 17:561–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hanski I (1994) A practical model of metapopulation dynamics. J Anim Ecol 63:151–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hinojosa LF, Villagrán C (1997) Historia de los bosques del sur de Sudamérica I: antecedentes paleobotánicos, geológicos y climáticos del Terciario del cono sur de América. Rev Chil Hist Nat 70:225–239Google Scholar
  21. Hinsley SA (2000) The costs of multiple patch use by birds. Landscape Ecol 15:765–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hosmer DW, Lemeshow S (2000) Applied logistic regression. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Hurlbert SH (1984) Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecol Monogr 54:187–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ippi S, Trejo A (2003) Dinámica y estructura de bandadas mixtas de aves en un bosque de lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) del Noroeste de la Patagonia argentina. Ornitol Neotrop 14:353–362Google Scholar
  25. James FC, Shugart HH (1970) A quantitative method of habitat description. Aud Field Notes 24:727–736Google Scholar
  26. Jolliffe IT (2002) Principal component analysis, 2nd edn. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Keymer JE, Marquet PA, Velasco-Hernández JX, Levin SA (2000) Extinction thresholds and metapopulation persistence in dynamic landscapes. Am Nat 156:478–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Keyser AJ, Hill GE, Soehren EC (1998) Effects of forest fragment size, nest density, and proximity to edge on the risk of predation to ground-nesting passerine birds. Conserv Biol 12:986–994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Krackhardt D (1994) Graph theoretical dimensions of informal organizations. In: Carley KM, Prietula MJ (eds) Computational organization theory. Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, Hillsdale, pp 89–111Google Scholar
  30. Kurki S, Nikula A, Helle P, Linden H (2000) Landscape fragmentation and forest composition effects. Ecology 81:1985–1997Google Scholar
  31. Lens L, Van Dongen S, Norris K, Githiru M, Matthysen E (2002) Avian persistence in fragmented rainforest. Science 298:1236–1238PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. López-Cortés F, López D (2004) Antecedentes bioclimáticos del Parque Nacional Bosque Fray Jorge. In: Squeo FA, Gutiérrez JR, Hernández IR (eds) Historia Natural del Parque Nacional Bosque Fray Jorge. Ediciones Universidad de La Serena, La Serena, pp 45–60Google Scholar
  33. Mannan RW, Conner RN, Marcot B, Peek JM (1994) Managing forestlands for wildlife. In: Bookhout TA (eds) Research and management techniques for wildlife and habitats, 5th edn. The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, pp 689–721Google Scholar
  34. Manton MG, Angelstam P, Mikusiński G (2005) Modelling habitat suitability for deciduous forest focal species—a sensitivity analysis using different satellite land cover data. Landscape Ecol 20:827–839CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martuzzi M, Elliott P (1998) Estimating the incidence rate ratio in cross-sectional studies using a simple alternative to logistic regression. Ann Epidemiol 8:52–55PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Matthysen E, Adriaensen F (1998) Forest size and isolation have no effect on reproductive success of Eurasian Nuthatches (Sitta europaea). Auk 115:955–963Google Scholar
  37. McGarigal K, McComb WC (1995) Relationships between landscape structure and breeding birds in the Oregon Coast Range. Ecol Monogr 65:235–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Moilanen A, Nieminen M (2002) Simple connectivity measures in spatial ecology. Ecology 83:1131–1145Google Scholar
  39. Nocedal J, Wright SJ (1999) Numerical optimization. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Norris DR, Stutchbury BJM (2001) Extraterritorial movements of a forest songbird in a fragmented landscape. Conserv Biol 15:729–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pearson SM, Turner MG, Gardner RH, O’Neill RV (1996) An organism-based perspective of habitat fragmentation. In: Szaro RC, Johnston DW (eds) Biodiversity in managed landscapes. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 77–95Google Scholar
  42. Pulido FJ, Díaz M (1997) Linking individual foraging behavior and population spatial distribution in patchy environments: a field example with Mediterranean blue tits. Oecologia 111:434–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pulkstenis E, Robinson T (2002) Two goodness-of-fit tests for logistic regression with continuous covariates. Stat Med 21:79–93PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ramsey FL, Scott JM (1979) Estimating population densities from variable circular plot surveys. In: Cormack RM, Patil GP, Robson DS (eds) Sampling biological populations. Statistical ecology series, vol 5. International Co-operative Publishing House, Fairland, pp 155–181Google Scholar
  45. Robinson SK, Thompson FR, Donovan TM, Whitehead DR, Faaborg J (1995) Regional forest fragmentation and the nesting success of migratory birds. Science 267:1987–1990CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Rodríguez A, Andrén H, Jansson G (2001) Habitat-mediated predation risk and decision making of small birds at forest edges. Oikos 95:383–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Saunders DA, Hobbs RJ, Margules CR (1991) Biological consequences of ecosystem fragmentation: a review. Conserv Biol 5:18–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Saville D, Wood GR (1991) Statistical methods: the geometric approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  49. Schmiegelow FKA, Mönkkönen M (2002) Habitat loss and fragmentation in dynamic landscapes: avian perspectives from the boreal forest. Ecol Appl 12:375–389Google Scholar
  50. Schrott GR, With KA, King ATW (2005) On the importance of landscape history for assessing extinction risk. Ecol Appl 15:493–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Shaffer TL (2004) A unified approach to analyzing nest success. Auk 121:526–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tellería JL, Santos T (1995) Effects of forest fragmentation on a guild of wintering passerines: the role of habitat selection. Biol Conserv 71:61–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tomasevic JA, Estades CF (2006) Stand attributes and the abundance of secondary cavity-nesting birds in southern beech (Nothofagus) forests in South-Central Chile. Ornitol Neotrop 17:1–14Google Scholar
  54. Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  55. Urban D, Keitt T (2001) Landscape connectivity: a graph-theoretic perspective. Ecology 82:1205–1218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Verboom J, Foppen R, Chardon P, Opdam P, Luttikhuizen P (2001) Introducing the key patch approach for habitat networks with persistent populations: an example for marshland birds. Biol Conserv 100:89–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Vergara PM (2005) Predation on bird nests in forest edges of a national reserve of the coastal range of the Maule Region. In: Smith C, Armesto JJ, Valdovinos C (eds) Biodiversidad y Ecología de los bosques de la Cordillera de la Costa de Chile. Editorial Universitaria, Chile, pp 554–560Google Scholar
  58. Vergara PM (2006) Estructura espacial de la población de rayaditos (Aphrastura spinicauda) del bosque fragmentado de Fray Jorge. Doctoral Thesis, Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileGoogle Scholar
  59. Vergara PM, Simonetti JA (2004a) Avian responses to fragmentation of the Maulino in central Chile. Oryx 38:383–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vergara PM, Simonetti JA (2004b) Does nest-site cover reduce nest predation for rhinocryptids? J Field Ornithol 75:188–191Google Scholar
  61. Vergara PM, Marquet P, Zeballos H (2003) Nesting of the Thorn-tailed Rayadito (Aphrastura Spinicauda) in the metropolitan region of Central Chile. Abstracts of VI Neotropical Ornithological Congress, Chile, pp 153Google Scholar
  62. Villard MA, Trzcinski MK, Merriam G (1999) Fragmentation effects on forest birds: relative influence of woodland cover and configuration on landscape occupancy. Conserv Biol 13:774–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vuilleumier F (1967) Mixed species flocks in Patagonian forest, with remarks on interspecies flock formation. Condor 64:400–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wiens JA (1976) Population responses to patchy environments. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 7:81–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations