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Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Predation Risk to Forest Grouse Nests in the Central European Mountain Regions

1
Forestry and Game Management Research Institute, v.v.i., Strnady 136, 252 02 Jíloviště, Czech Republic
2
Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, 165 00 Prague 6, Czech Republic
3
Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, 7034 Trondheim, Norway
4
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 1760, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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Institute of Vertebrate Biology, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic
6
Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 1176, Suchdol, 165 21 Prague, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Luciano Bani
Animals 2021, 11(2), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020316
Received: 8 January 2021 / Revised: 21 January 2021 / Accepted: 24 January 2021 / Published: 27 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
Forest grouses are among the most endangered ground-nesting birds in Central Europe. Their rapid population decline was associated with habitat loss and increasing predation risk leading to low breeding success. The aim of this study was to describe black grouse nest predators and potential predation risk in a study area with a small, extant population of black grouse (Ore Mts.) and in a study area with an already extinct grouse population (Jeseníky Mts.) in the Czech Republic. In order to determine the predation intensity to black grouse nests, 50 artificial nests (28 in Ore Mts., 22 in Jeseníky Mts.) were monitored using camera traps. The results showed that 56% of nests were predated. Within the time needed for successful incubation of the eggs (25 days), the nest survival probability was on average 45.5%. The proportion of depredated nests did not differ between habitat types (i.e., open forest interior, clearing, forest edge). The stone marten was the main potential nest predator in both study areas (39% in total), followed by common raven (25%) and red fox (22%). In conclusion, our study revealed the high predation pressure on black grouse nests which corresponds with increasing population trends of mesopredators and wild boars in Central Europe.
We evaluated the spatiotemporal patterns of predation risk on black grouse nests using artificial nests that were monitored by camera traps in mountain areas with a small extant (Ore Mts.) and already extinct (Jeseníky Mts.) black grouse population. The overall predation rate of artificial nests was 56% and we found significant differences in survival rate courses over time between both study areas (68% Ore Mts. vs. 41%, Jeseníky Mts.). Within the time required for successful egg incubation (25 days), nest survival probability was 0.32 in the Ore Mts. and 0.59 in Jeseníky Mts. The stone marten (Martes foina) was the primary nest predator in both study areas (39% in total), followed by common raven (Corvus corax, 25%) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes, 22%). The proportion of depredated nests did not differ between habitat types (i.e., open forest interior, clearing, forest edge), but we recorded the effect of interaction of study area and habitat. In Ore Mts., the main nest predator was common raven with seven records (37%). The Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) was responsible for most predation attempts in Jeseníky Mts. (five records, i.e., 83%), while in the Ore Mts., most predation attempts were done by red fox (six records, i.e., 38%). View Full-Text
Keywords: artificial nests; nest predation; camera-trapping; forest grouse conservation; wildlife management artificial nests; nest predation; camera-trapping; forest grouse conservation; wildlife management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cukor, J.; Linda, R.; Andersen, O.; Eriksen, L.F.; Vacek, Z.; Riegert, J.; Šálek, M. Evaluation of Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Predation Risk to Forest Grouse Nests in the Central European Mountain Regions. Animals 2021, 11, 316. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020316

AMA Style

Cukor J, Linda R, Andersen O, Eriksen LF, Vacek Z, Riegert J, Šálek M. Evaluation of Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Predation Risk to Forest Grouse Nests in the Central European Mountain Regions. Animals. 2021; 11(2):316. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020316

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cukor, Jan; Linda, Rostislav; Andersen, Oddgeir; Eriksen, Lasse F.; Vacek, Zdeněk; Riegert, Jan; Šálek, Martin. 2021. "Evaluation of Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Predation Risk to Forest Grouse Nests in the Central European Mountain Regions" Animals 11, no. 2: 316. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020316

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