, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 141–149 | Cite as

Foraging behaviour of insectivorous migrants and a resident songbird at a stopover site

  • Christoph RandlerEmail author
  • Stefan Pentzold
  • Constanze Pentzold


During their staging at stopover sites, migrants compete with resident species over food resources. This ‘resource competition hypothesis’ has often been examined in breeding areas of songbirds, but little is known about resource competition between migrants and resident species at stopover sites. We studied foraging behaviour and microhabitat of the endemic resident species Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca in comparison to eleven migrating species of the same genus or of the same flycatching guild during spring migration on Cyprus, a Mediterranean stopover site. We characterized microhabitats of congeneric Oenanthe species by less cover overhead and low perches and distinguished them from migrating Ficedula hypoleuca, Ficedula albicollis and Phoenicurus phoenicurus, which preferred high cover overhead and medium perches. In a hierarchical cluster analysis, O. cypriaca clustered together with three shrike species Lanius and the flycatcher Muscicapa striata, with less cover overhead, but high perches. During foraging, hopping behaviour discriminated best among the Oenanthe species. Multidimensional scaling on foraging behaviour showed that O. cypriaca is clearly distinct from the other species. Direct competition (aggressive encounters) between the resident species and migrants was rarely observed. Our results provide support for niche partitioning and coexistence between migrants and a resident species at a stopover site.

Key words

bird migration foraging behaviour habitat niche partitioning stopover sites 


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The authors report no conflict of interest. The work carried out complies with current law of Cyprus. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Footnote: Author Contributions: CR, SP and CP designed the study and did the fieldwork. CR performed the statistical analyses. CR, SP, CP discussed the data and wrote the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Randler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefan Pentzold
    • 2
  • Constanze Pentzold
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Education HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Institute of BiologyUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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