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Animals 2019, 9(3), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030113

Habitat Selection of Wintering Birds in Farm Ponds in Taoyuan, Taiwan

1
School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, National Taiwan University, Taipei City 10617, Taiwan
2
Department of Biology, National Changhua University of Education, Changhua City 50007, Taiwan
3
Graduate Institute of Environmental Education, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei City 11606, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 February 2019 / Revised: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 23 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
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Simple Summary

Identification of existing and potential irrigation ponds is essential for creating waterbird refuges to secure habitats for wintering waterbirds in anthropogenically influenced areas. In total, 45 ponds were surveyed in the Taoyuan Tableland in northwestern Taiwan. The association between pond dimensions and bird-species richness and community composition was determined by comparing the responses of functional groups to pond configurations. The results demonstrated that waterbirds, compared with landbirds, have a stronger correlation with pond variables. Our study provided substantial evidence that these artificial ponds had also influenced the distribution of wintering waterbirds.

Abstract

Farm ponds or irrigation ponds, providing a vital habitat for diverse bird communities, are an environmental feature with characteristics that cross over typical urban and natural conditions. In this study, the species richness and community structure of irrigation ponds were characterized on the local and landscape scales. Within a landscape complex in the Taoyuan Tableland of Taiwan, 45 ponds were surveyed, ranging in areas from 0.2 to 20.47 ha. In total, 94 species and 15,053 individual birds were identified after surveying four times. The association between ponds and birds was determined to establish the effect of pond dimensions on species richness and community composition in the complex by comparing the responses of functional groups to pond configurations. Seven avian functional groups were identified. Compared with landbirds (i.e., families Alcedinidae, Apodidae, Icteridae, and Sturnidae), waterbirds (i.e., families Anatidae, Ardeidae, Charadriidae, Podicipedidae, and Scolopacidae) exhibited a stronger correlation with pond variables. Our study provides substantial evidence that these artificial ponds have influenced wintering waterbirds. The final results of this study may help stakeholders and land managers identify areas not to establish large-scale solar facilities considering waterbird habitats in pond areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: habitat difference; irrigation ponds; landscape ecology; wintering birds habitat difference; irrigation ponds; landscape ecology; wintering birds
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Hsu, C.-H.; Chou, J.-Y.; Fang, W.-T. Habitat Selection of Wintering Birds in Farm Ponds in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Animals 2019, 9, 113.

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