Discriminating between nesting and non-nesting habitat in a vulnerable bird species: implications for behavioural ecology

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Nowadays, partitioning amongst nesting and non-nesting habitats is not much studied. Here, I investigate whether or not the turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) nesting habitats overlap with those used for other purposes in a North African agroforestry system. A total of 33 nest points and 33 turtle dove presence points were considered. The study, conducted in May to June 2017, attempted to determine the factors that may play a role in discriminating between the nesting habitats and non-nesting habitats. I used a linear discriminant analysis (LDA) to test the relevance of proximity of food resources, forest edge and human presence variables in the distribution of the species. The results show substantial segregation in the habitats selected for nesting and those selected for other uses [average distance was 1129.69 ± 169.40 m (n = 66) with a maximum of 1518.6 m and a minimum of 617.72 m], with selection depending primarily on the proximity to forest edge and feeding areas. I discuss these findings and their implications on behavioural ecology and future researches of this vulnerable species. I suggest guidelines for future studies that will seek to better understand the behavioural dynamics of turtle doves in the Mediterranean agroforestry systems. This can only be done when disturbance covariates, such as: (i) forest logging, (ii) cereal harvesting and (iii) hunting and predation pressures, were imperatively taken into account.

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