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Habitat use and tree selection of a declining Afro-Palaearctic migrant at sub-Saharan staging and wintering sites

Mallord, John W., Orsman, Christopher J., Roberts, Japheth T., Skeen, Roger, Sheehan, Danaë K., Vickery, Juliet A.
Bird study 2016 v.63 no.4 pp. 459-469
Acacia paradoxa, Albizia zygia, Anogeissus, Azadirachta indica, Mangifera indica, Parulidae, Phylloscopus, Vitellaria paradoxa, birds, habitats, home range, land use change, probability, radio frequency identification, trees, wintering grounds, woodlands, Burkina Faso, Ghana
Capsule: Wood Warblers Phylloscopus sibilatrix showed significant selection for tree species and woodland characteristics at staging and wintering sites in sub-Saharan Africa. Aims: To investigate home range size, habitat and tree species selection of Wood Warblers at a staging site in Burkina Faso (Koubri) and a wintering site in Ghana (Pepease). Methods: Comparing habitat recorded at locations of radio-tagged birds and at control points, we investigated whether there was habitat and tree species selection. We also compared home range size of individual birds between the two sites. Results: Home range size did not differ between the two sites. There was significant selection for tree species at both Koubri and Pepease: Anogeissus leiocarpus and Albizia zygia , respectively. At Koubri, there was significant avoidance of the most common tree species (Azadirachta indica , Mangifera indica (both non-native), Vitellaria paradoxa and Acacia spp.). In addition, there was a preference for taller trees and greater tree density at both sites. However, the probability of a point being used declined with increasing number of taller (>14 m) trees. Conclusion: Fine-scale selection of woodland habitats suggests that Wood Warblers are likely to suffer the consequences of ongoing land-use change in their West African wintering grounds.