Selection of foraging habitat and nestling diet by Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis breeding on intensively grazed moorland

David J. T. Douglas, Darren M. Evans, Stephen M. Redpath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Capsule Foraging sites with low vegetation height and density, but with high arthropod biomass, are selected.

Aims To test the hypothesis that on intensively grazed moorland, breeding Meadow Pipits forage for nestling food where arthropod prey are most readily available, and therefore that foraging site choice is a function of prey abundance and vegetation structure.

Methods Observations of adults provisioning nestlings were made from hides positioned close to 19 nests within grazed, 3.3-hectare experimental plots at Glen Finglas, Scotland. Vegetation height and density and arthropod abundance from mapped foraging sites were compared with control sites. Prey items fed to nestlings were quantified and compared with their relative abundance.

Results Meadow Pipits selected foraging sites with significantly lower vegetation height and density, but with significantly higher arthropod biomass. Our data suggest that within foraging sites, Meadow Pipits select particular prey types to provision nestlings, in particular, Lepidoptera larvae, adult Tipulidae and Arachnida.

Conclusions In intensively grazed upland systems, it appears that Meadow Pipits select foraging sites that optimize total food abundance and accessibility. In order to understand how anticipated changes to livestock farming in Europe will affect grassland birds, we recommend that future studies should investigate the foraging and vigilance behaviour, diet composition and breeding success of a variety of bird species provisioning nestlings under a range of livestock management scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalBird Study
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

moorland
heathlands
nestling
meadow
arthropod
breeding
foraging
diet
habitat
habitats
arthropods
livestock farming
vegetation
vigilance
food
range livestock
biomass
vegetation structure
Tipulidae
accessibility

Keywords

  • moorland
  • upland birds
  • sheep grazing
  • population declines
  • diet
  • European Union Common Agricultural Policy
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Anthus pratensis

Cite this

Selection of foraging habitat and nestling diet by Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis breeding on intensively grazed moorland. / Douglas, David J. T.; Evans, Darren M.; Redpath, Stephen M.

In: Bird Study, Vol. 55, No. 3, 2008, p. 290-296.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{ef68498cbf5c465883ca9d85834822ef,
title = "Selection of foraging habitat and nestling diet by Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis breeding on intensively grazed moorland",
abstract = "Capsule Foraging sites with low vegetation height and density, but with high arthropod biomass, are selected.Aims To test the hypothesis that on intensively grazed moorland, breeding Meadow Pipits forage for nestling food where arthropod prey are most readily available, and therefore that foraging site choice is a function of prey abundance and vegetation structure.Methods Observations of adults provisioning nestlings were made from hides positioned close to 19 nests within grazed, 3.3-hectare experimental plots at Glen Finglas, Scotland. Vegetation height and density and arthropod abundance from mapped foraging sites were compared with control sites. Prey items fed to nestlings were quantified and compared with their relative abundance.Results Meadow Pipits selected foraging sites with significantly lower vegetation height and density, but with significantly higher arthropod biomass. Our data suggest that within foraging sites, Meadow Pipits select particular prey types to provision nestlings, in particular, Lepidoptera larvae, adult Tipulidae and Arachnida.Conclusions In intensively grazed upland systems, it appears that Meadow Pipits select foraging sites that optimize total food abundance and accessibility. In order to understand how anticipated changes to livestock farming in Europe will affect grassland birds, we recommend that future studies should investigate the foraging and vigilance behaviour, diet composition and breeding success of a variety of bird species provisioning nestlings under a range of livestock management scenarios.",
keywords = "moorland, upland birds, sheep grazing, population declines, diet, European Union Common Agricultural Policy, Meadow Pipit, Anthus pratensis",
author = "Douglas, {David J. T.} and Evans, {Darren M.} and Redpath, {Stephen M.}",
year = "2008",
doi = "10.1080/00063650809461534",
language = "English",
volume = "55",
pages = "290--296",
journal = "Bird Study",
issn = "0006-3657",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Selection of foraging habitat and nestling diet by Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis breeding on intensively grazed moorland

AU - Douglas, David J. T.

AU - Evans, Darren M.

AU - Redpath, Stephen M.

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - Capsule Foraging sites with low vegetation height and density, but with high arthropod biomass, are selected.Aims To test the hypothesis that on intensively grazed moorland, breeding Meadow Pipits forage for nestling food where arthropod prey are most readily available, and therefore that foraging site choice is a function of prey abundance and vegetation structure.Methods Observations of adults provisioning nestlings were made from hides positioned close to 19 nests within grazed, 3.3-hectare experimental plots at Glen Finglas, Scotland. Vegetation height and density and arthropod abundance from mapped foraging sites were compared with control sites. Prey items fed to nestlings were quantified and compared with their relative abundance.Results Meadow Pipits selected foraging sites with significantly lower vegetation height and density, but with significantly higher arthropod biomass. Our data suggest that within foraging sites, Meadow Pipits select particular prey types to provision nestlings, in particular, Lepidoptera larvae, adult Tipulidae and Arachnida.Conclusions In intensively grazed upland systems, it appears that Meadow Pipits select foraging sites that optimize total food abundance and accessibility. In order to understand how anticipated changes to livestock farming in Europe will affect grassland birds, we recommend that future studies should investigate the foraging and vigilance behaviour, diet composition and breeding success of a variety of bird species provisioning nestlings under a range of livestock management scenarios.

AB - Capsule Foraging sites with low vegetation height and density, but with high arthropod biomass, are selected.Aims To test the hypothesis that on intensively grazed moorland, breeding Meadow Pipits forage for nestling food where arthropod prey are most readily available, and therefore that foraging site choice is a function of prey abundance and vegetation structure.Methods Observations of adults provisioning nestlings were made from hides positioned close to 19 nests within grazed, 3.3-hectare experimental plots at Glen Finglas, Scotland. Vegetation height and density and arthropod abundance from mapped foraging sites were compared with control sites. Prey items fed to nestlings were quantified and compared with their relative abundance.Results Meadow Pipits selected foraging sites with significantly lower vegetation height and density, but with significantly higher arthropod biomass. Our data suggest that within foraging sites, Meadow Pipits select particular prey types to provision nestlings, in particular, Lepidoptera larvae, adult Tipulidae and Arachnida.Conclusions In intensively grazed upland systems, it appears that Meadow Pipits select foraging sites that optimize total food abundance and accessibility. In order to understand how anticipated changes to livestock farming in Europe will affect grassland birds, we recommend that future studies should investigate the foraging and vigilance behaviour, diet composition and breeding success of a variety of bird species provisioning nestlings under a range of livestock management scenarios.

KW - moorland

KW - upland birds

KW - sheep grazing

KW - population declines

KW - diet

KW - European Union Common Agricultural Policy

KW - Meadow Pipit

KW - Anthus pratensis

U2 - 10.1080/00063650809461534

DO - 10.1080/00063650809461534

M3 - Article

VL - 55

SP - 290

EP - 296

JO - Bird Study

JF - Bird Study

SN - 0006-3657

IS - 3

ER -