Nest-site characteristics and breeding density of Magpie Pica pica in Sombor (NW Serbia)

Thomas Mérő 1 , Antun Žuljević 2  and Katalin Varga 3
  • 1 Milana Rakića 20, RS-25000 Sombor, Serbia
  • 2 Vere Gucunje 20, RS-25000 Sombor, Serbia
  • 3 Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1, HU-4032 Debrecen, Hungary

Nest-site characteristics and breeding density of Magpie Pica pica in Sombor (NW Serbia)

In March 2009, active Magpie Pica pica nests were censused in the town of Sombor (Vojvodina, NW Serbia) to study nest-site characteristics, breeding density and spatial distribution. The area of the town can be divided into two parts according to different urban landscapes, i.e. the town centre (150 ha) and the residential area (2,224 ha). In total, 222 Magpie nests were found and their height, tree species and nest-site type determined. Nests were found in 25 tree and two shrub species, the most of them (31.1%) being placed in the commonest tree species in the town, the Common Hackberry Celtis occidentalis. The majority of the nests were found in tree avenues (39.6%) and groups of trees (31.5%). Nests in the town centre with a mean height (± SD) of 15.2 ± 4.05 m were significantly higher than those in the residential area with a mean height (± SD) of 11.4 ± 5.13 m. The mean distance of nests from the top of the canopy (± SD) was 1.5 ± 1.33 m, demonstrating the Magpie's tendency to place its nests in the very tops of trees in the urban areas. In the residential area, nests were present in every height class, while in the town centre they were not found lower than 5 m. This difference can be explained by denser human population in the town centre and hence greater disturbance (e.g. pedestrians), as found in several other studies, but also by the negative effect of high buildings that prevail there. Thus, the height of surrounding buildings, too, might play an important role in nest-site selection in Magpies breeding in urban habitats, especially in densely built-up areas. Breeding density of Magpie in Sombor was 0.94 pairs/10 ha, with almost twice as high in the town centre as in the residential area. The findings of this study are compared to those obtained in other studies in Serbia and abroad.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Antonov, A. & Atanasova, D. (2002): Nest-site selection in the Magpie Pica pica in a high-density urban population of Sofia (Bulgaria). - Acta Ornithologica 37: 55-66.

  • Baeyens, G. (1979): Description of the social behaviour of the Magpie (Pica Pica). - Ardea 67: 28-41.

  • Baeyens, G. (1981a): The role of the sexes in territory defence in the Magpie (Pica Pica). - Ardea 69: 69-82.

  • Baeyens, G. (1981b): Magpie breeding success and Carrion Crow interference. - Ardea 69: 125-139.

  • Baeyens, G. & Jerzak, J. (1997): Magpie Pica pica. pp. 672-673 In: Hagemeijer, J.M.W. & Blair J.M. (eds.): The EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds: Their Distribution and Abundance. - T & A D Poyser, London.

  • Bauer, H.G., Bezzel, E. & Fiedler, W. (eds.) (2005): Das Kompendium der Vögel Mitteleuropas. - AULA Verlag, Wiebelsheim.

  • Bährmann, U. (1968): Die Elster. - Neue Brehm-Bücherei. A. Ziemsen, Wittenberg - Lutherstadt.

  • Bezzel, E. (1982): Vögel in der Kulturlandschaft. - Ulmer, Stuttgart.

  • Birkhead, T.R., Eden, S.F., Clarkson, K., Goodburn, S.F. & Pellatt, J. (1986): Social organisation of a population of Magpies Pica pica. - Ardea 74: 59-68.

  • Bossema, I., Röell, A. & Baeyens, G. (1986): Adaptations to interspecific competition in five corvid species in the Netherlands. - Ardea 74: 199-210.

  • Chamberlain, D.E., Cannon, A.R., Toms, M., Leech, D., Hatchwell, B. & Gaston, K. (2009): Avian productivity in urban landscapes: a review and meta-analysis. - Ibis 151: 1-18.

  • Cramp, S. & Perrins, C.M. (ed.) (1994): Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Vol. 8. Crows to Finches. - Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Dolenec, Z. (2000): Breeding density, nest sites, clutch size and egg dimensions of Magpie (Pica pica) in NW Croatia. - Natura Croatica 9: 107-114.

  • Gorska, E. & Gorski, W. (1997): Nest sites of the Magpie Pica pica in urban and rural habitats in the Koszalin Region, NW Poland. - Acta Ornithologica 32: 45-50.

  • Jerzak, L. (2001): Synurbanization of the magpie in the Palearctic. pp. 403-425 In: Marzluff, M.J., Bowman, R. & Donnelly, R. (eds.): Avian Ecology and Conservation in an Urbanizing World. - Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell.

  • Mérő, T.O. & Žuljević, A. (2010): Ptice Sombora. - Društvo za zaštitu i proučavanje prirode - Natura, Sombor.

  • Møller, A.P. (1983): Habitat selection and feeding activity in the Magpie Pica pica. - Journal of Ornithology 124: 147-161.

  • Tatner, P. (1982): Factors influencing the distribution of Magpies Pica pica in an urban environment. - Bird Study 29: 227-234.

  • Tomić, P. (1996): Klima. pp. 16-21 In: Đuričić, J. (ed.): Opština Sombor. - Prirodno-matematički fakultet, Institut za geografiju & Prosveta, Novi Sad.

  • Tucakov, M. & Kucsera, I. (2008): Nest site selection and density of Magpie Pica pica in Novi Sad (Serbia). - Vogelwelt 129: 97-101.

  • Vogrin, M. (1998): Density, nest site and breeding success of a rural population of the Magpie (Pica pica) in NE Slovenia. - Vogelwarte 39: 293-297.

  • Vogrin, M. (2003): Common Magpie Pica pica, Western Jackdaw Corvus monedula and Hooded Crow Corvus cornix in some towns in North-eastern Slovenia (Central Europe). - Online Journal of Biological Sciences 3 (8): 688-693. - [http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/ansinet/jbs/2003/688-693.pdf] http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/ansinet/jbs/2003/688-693.pdf

  • Vojnović, M. (2001): Sombor. - Publikum, Sombor.

  • Vuorisalo, T., Hugg, T., Kaitainiemi, P., Lappalainen, J. & Vesanto, S. (1992): Habitat selection and nest sites of the Magpie Pica pica in the city of Turku, SW Finland. - Ornis Fennica 69: 29-33.

  • Wang, Y., Chen, S., Jiang, P. & Ding, P. (2008): Blackbilled Magpies (Pica pica) adjust nest characteristics to adapt to urbanization in Hangzhou, China. - Canadian Journal of Zoology 86 (7): 676-684.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search