Relationship between Environmental Features and Bird Assemblages in the Wetlands of Eastern Romania

Open access


The avian habitats in Eastern Europe are poorly managed in last decades. It is of highly noteworthy influence importance to obtain more information regarding the link between birds’ presence and environmental features in wetlands to improve this poorly managed system. In our study we investigated the effects of the various habitat, landscape fragmentation and weather variables on the bird assemblages in Eastern Romania, described by diversity, species richness and abundance of non-passerine birds in wetlands. Poisson regression modelling revealed wetland area, wetland heterogeneity, proportion of open-water, density of patches and habitats, landscape shape and temperature conditions have a noteworthy influence on the bird assemblages (p<0,05). Our results suggest that the link between environmental features and birds’ assemblage, in our study areas could be dependent on the presence of the emergent vegetation (shelter / reproduction zones), the balance between open-water area (feeding / nesting zones) and also other variables, as the temperature, the presence of the human living facilities and/or intensive fish nurseries in the neighboring zones. Waterbird distribution and abundance in eastern part of Romania are driven by similar factors to other part of the world and this study could be one of the first published on the topic in a region where It is a lack of information on waterbirds ecology. Such studies would bring valuable information about the ecologic factors influencing the lives of the birds, in the areas that were not stueid before, resulting in better conservation efforts and wetland protection, in estern part of Europe.

1. Andrén H (1994) Effects of Habitat Fragmentation on Birds and Mammals in Landscapes with Different Proportions of Suitable Habitat: A Review. Oikos 71(3):355-366. doi: 10.2307/3545823

2. Báldi A (2006) Factors influencing occurrence of passerines in the reed archipelago of Lake Velence (Hungary). Acta Ornithologica 41(1):384-390. doi: 10.3161/068.041.0105

3. Barnagaud JY, Devictor V, Jiguet F, Barbet-Massin M, Le Viol I, Archaux F (2012) Relating Habitat and Climatic Niches in Birds. PLoS ONE 7(3):e32819. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032819

4. Batt DJB, Afton AD, Anderson MG, Ankney CD, Johnson DH, Kadlec JA, et al (1992) Ecology and Management of Breeding Waterfowl. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis

5. Benassi G, Battisti C, Luiselli L (2007) Area effect on bird species richness of an archipelago of wetland fragments in Central Italy. Community Ecology 8(2):229-237.doi: 10.1556/ComEc.8.2007.2.9

6. Bibby CJ, Burgess ND, Hill DA, Mustoe SH (2000) Bird Census Techniques. 2nd edition. Academic Press, London

7. Bîrsan MV, Zaharia L, Chendeș V, Brănescu E (2014) Seasonal trends in Romanian streamflow, Hydrological Processes 28(15): 4496-4505. doi: 10.1002/hyp.9961

8. Bogaert J, Myneni RB, Knyazikhin Y (2002) A mathematical comment on the formulae for the aggregation index and the shape index. Landscape Ecology 17(1):87-90. doi: 10.1023/A:1015204923187

9. Bolduc F, Afton DA (2008) Monitoring water bird abundance in wetlands: The importance of controlling results for variation in water depth. Ecological Modelling 216(3-4):402–408. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2008.05.007

10. Bolenbaugh JR, Krementz DG, Lehnen SE (2011) Secretive marsh bird species co-occurrences and habitat associations across the Midwest, USA. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 2(1):49–60. doi:10.3996/012011-JFWM-001

11. Böhning-Gaese K (1997) Determinants of Avian Species Richness at Different Spatial Scales. Journal of Biogeography 24(1):49–60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.1997.tb00049.x

12. Celada C, Bogliani G (1993) Breeding bird communities in fragmented wetlands, Bolletino di Zoologia 60(1):73-80, doi: 10.1080/11250009309355794

13. Chettri N, Deb DC, Sharma E, Jackson R (2005) The Relationship between Bird Communities and Habitat - A Study along Trekking Corridor in the Sikkim Himalaya. Mountain Research and Development 25(3): 235-243.doi: 10.1659/0276-4741(2005)025[0235:TRBBCA]2.0.CO;2

14. Colwell MA, Taft OW (2000) Waterbird Communities in Managed Wetlands of Varying Water Depth. Waterbirds. The International Journal of Waterbird Biology 23(1): 45–55.

15. Crick HQP (1992) A bird-habitat coding system for use in Britain and Ireland incorporating aspects of land management and human activity. Bird Study 39(1): 1-12. doi:10.1080/00063659209477092

16. Dallimer M, Skinner AMJ, Davies ZG, Armsworth PR, Gaston KJ (2012) Multiple habitat associations: the role of offsite habitat in determining onsite avian density and species richness. Ecography 35(2):134–145. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.07040.x

17. Fairbairn SE, Dinsmore JJ (2001) Local and landscape-level influences of wetland bird communities of the prairie pothole region of Iowa, USA. Wetlands 21(1):41-47. doi: 10.1672/0277-5212(2001)021[0041:LALLIO]2.0.CO; 2

18. Garaba L, Sfîcă L (2015) Climatic features of the Romanian territory generated by the action of Mediterranean cyclones. Lucrările Seminarului Geografic ,,Dimitrie Cantemir" 39(1):11-24. doi:

19. Gauthreaux SA Jr., Michi JE, Belser GC (2005) The Temporal Spatial Structure of the Atmosphere and its influence on Bird Migration Strategies. In: Greenberg R, Marra PP (ed) Birds of two worlds: the ecology and evolution of migration. The john Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp. 183

20. González-Gajardo A, Sepúlveda PV, Schlatter R (2009) Waterbird Assemblages and Habitat Characteristics in Wetlands: Influence of Temporal Variability on Species-Habitat Relationships. Waterbirds 32(2):225-233. doi: 10.1675/063.032.0203

21. Hill MO (1973) Diversity and Evenness: A Unifying Notation and Its Consequences. Ecology 54(2):427–432. doi: 10.2307/1934352

22. Ion I (1992) Glimpses of ornitho-fauna from Prut Valley.Scientific Annals of” Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași, Animal Biology 37(2):241-242

23. Jongman RHG, Ter Braak CJF, Van Tongeren OFR (1995) Data Analysis in Community and Landscape Ecology, Cambridge University Press, New York

24. Kahara SN, Duffy WG, DiGaudio R, Records R (2012) Climate, Management and Habitat Associations of Avian Fauna in Restored Wetlands of California’s Central Valley, USA. Diversity 4(4):396-418. doi: 10.3390/d4040396

25. Katayama N, Amano T, Naoe S, et al. Landscape Heterogeneity–Biodiversity Relationship: Effect of Range Size. Bond-Lamberty B, ed. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(3):e93359. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093359.

26. Klein Tank AMG, Wijngaard JB, Können GP, Böhm R, Demarée G, Gocheva A, et al (2002) Daily dataset of 20th-century surface air temperature and precipitation series for the European Climate Assessment. International Journal of Climatology 22(12):1441-1453. doi: 10.1002/joc.773

27. Kaufman, L. and P.J. Rousseeuw (1990). Finding Groups in Data: An Introduction to Cluster Analysis. Wiley, New York.

28. Krebs CJ (1999) Ecological Methodology. 2nd edition. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, Inc., Menlo Park

29. Kristan BW, Johnson MD, Rotenberry JT (2007) Choices and consequences of avian habitat selection. The Condor 109(3):485–488. doi: 10.1650/8346.1

30. Lahti DC (2001) The ”edge effect on nest predation” hypothesis after twenty years. Biological Conservation 99(3):365-374. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(00)00222-6

31. Le Viol I, Jiguet F, Brotons L, Herrando S, Lindström Å, Pearce-Higgins JW, et al (2012) More and more generalists: two decades of changes in the European avifauna. Biology Letters 8(5):780-782. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0496

32. Lennon JJ, Greenwood JJD, Turner JRG (2000) Bird diversity and environmental gradients in Britain: a test of the species-energy hypothesis. Journal of Animal Ecology 69(4):581-598. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2656.2000.00418.x

33. Ma Z, Cai Y, Li B, Chen J (2010) Managing Wetland Habitats for Waterbirds: An International Perspective. Wetlands 30(1):15–27. doi: 10.1007/s13157-009-0001-6

34. Magurran AE (1988) Ecological diversity and its measurement. Princeton University Press, Princeton

35. Mattison EHA, Norris K (2005) Bridging the gaps between agricultural policy, land-use and biodiversity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20(11):610-616. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2005.08.011

36. Morrison LM (2006) Restoring Wildlife: Ecological Concepts and Practical Applications. Island Press, Washington

37. NaugleDE, Johnson RR, Estey ME, Higgins KF (2000) A Landscape approach to conserving wetland bird habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region of Eastern South Dakota. Wetlands 20(4):588-604. doi: 10.1672/0277-5212(2000)020[0588:ALATCW]2.0.CO;2

38. Newton I (1998) Populations limitation in birds. Academic Press U.K, London

39. Newton I (2007) Weather-related mass-mortality events in migrants. Ibis 149(3):453–467. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00704.x

40. O’Hara RB,Kotze JD (2010) Do not log-transform count data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 1(2):118–122. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2010.00021.x

41. Oja T, Alamets K, Pärnamets H (2005) Modelling bird habitat suitability based on landscape parameters at different scales. Ecological Indicators 5(4):314–321. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2005.03.008

42. Paracuellos M (2008) Effects of long-term habitat fragmentation on a wetland bird community. Revued'Ecologie (Terre Vie) 63:1-12

43. Pearson RG, Dawson TP (2003) Predicting the impacts of climate change on the distribution of species: are bio climate envelope models useful? Global Ecology & Biogeography 12(5):361–371. doi: 10.1046/j.1466-822X.2003.00042.x

44. Pickett SRA, Siriwardena GM (2011) The relationship between multi-scale habitat heterogeneity and farmland bird abundance. Ecography 34(6):955-969. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.06608.x

45. Preiszner B, Csörgő T (2012) Habitat preference of sylviidae warblers in a fragmented wetland. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 54(1):111–122

46. Pulido F (2007) Phenotypic changes in spring arrival: evolution, phenotypic plasticity, effects of weather and condition. Climate Research 35:5–23. doi: 10.3354/cr00711

47. Rehm EM, Baldassarre GA (2007) The influence of interspersion on marsh bird abundance in New York. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 119(4):648–654. doi: 10.1676/06-060.1

48. Riffell KS, Keas BE, Burton TM (2001) Area and habitat relationships of birds in Great Lakes coastal wet meadows. Wetlands 21(4):492-507. doi: 10.1672/0277-5212(2001)021[0492:AAHROB]2.0.CO;2

49. Rondinini C, Wilson KA, Boitani L, Grantham H, Possingham HP (2006) Trade-offs of different types of species occurrence data for use in systematic conservation planning. Ecology Letters 9:1136–1145. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00970.x

50. Schaefer HC, Jetz W, Böhning-Gaese K (2008) Impact of climate change on migratory birds: community reassembly versus adaptation. Global Ecology and Biogeography 17(1):38–49. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00341.x

51. Schipper AM, Koffijberg K, Van Weperen M, Atsma G, Ragas AMJ, Hendriks AJ, et al (2011) The distribution of a threatened migratory bird species in a patchy landscape: a multi-scale analysis. Landscape Ecology 26 (3):397-410. doi: 10.1007/s10980-010-9566-y

52. Skórka P, Martyka R, Wójcik JD (2006) Species richness of breeding birds at a landscape scale: which habitat type is the most important?. ActaOrnithologica 41(1):49-54. doi: 10.3161/068.041.0111

53. Stephens SE, Koonsa DN, Rotellaa JJ, Willey DW (2003) Effects of habitat fragmentation on avian nesting success: a review of the evidence at multiple spatial scales. Biological Conservation 115(1):101–110. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00098-3

54. Tews J, Brose U, Grimm V, Tielbörger K, Wichmann MC, Schwager M, et al. (2004) Animal species diversity driven by habitat heterogeneity/diversity: the importance of keystone structures. Journal of Biogeography 31(1):79–92. doi: 10.1046/j.0305-0270.2003.00994.x

55. Tozer CD, Nol E, Abraham KF (2010) Effects of local and landscape-scale habitat variables on abundance and reproductive success of wetland birds. Wetlands Ecology and Management 18(6): 679–693. doi: 10.1007/s11273-010-9187-x

56. Traut AH, Hostetler ME (2004) Urban lakes and waterbirds: effects of shoreline development on avian distribution. Landscape and Urban Planning 69(1):69–85. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2003.08.009

57. Triviño M, Thuiller W, Cabeza M, Hickler T, Araújo MB (2011) The Contribution of Vegetation and Landscape Configuration for Predicting Environmental Change Impacts on Iberian Birds. — PLoS ONE 6(12):e29373. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029373

58. Martinez-Vilalta J, Bertolero A, Bigas D, Paquet J-Y, Martinez-Vilalta A (2002) Habitat selection of passerine birds nesting in the Ebro Delta reed beds (NE Spain): management implications. Wetlands 22(2):318–325. doi: 10.1672ş/0277-5212(2002)022[0318:HSOPBN]2.0.CO;2

59. William L. Thompson W. L. (2002). Towards reliable bird surveys: accounting for individuals present but not detected. The Auk, 119 (1), 18-25

60. Van Horne, B. (1983). Density as a Misleading Indicator of Habitat Quality. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 47(4), 893-901. doi:10.2307/3808148

61. Weller MW (1999) Wetland Birds: habitat resources and conservation implication. University Press, Cambridge

62. Webb BE, Smith LM, Vrtiska MP, Lagrange TG (2010) Effects of local and landscape variables on wetland bird habitat use during migration through the Rainwater Basin. Journal of Wildlife Management 74(1):109-119. doi: 10.2193/2008-577

63. Wretenberg J, Pärta T, Berg Å (2010) Changes in local species richness of farmland birds in relation to land-use changes and landscape structure. Biological Conservation 143(2):375–381. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.11.001

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 35 35 5
PDF Downloads 28 28 8