Habitat selection of the Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix) in an intensively managed agricultural environment

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Abstract

This study investigated the habitat selection of the Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix) during the breeding season of 2014 in an intensively managed agricultural environment (LAJTA Project, North-West Hungary). In order to assess the habitat preferences of the Common Quail, habitat composition around occupied plots were compared with unoccupied control plots. To characterize the habitat, a total of 11 variables related to vegetation structure and diversity, food availability and landscape were quantified. Multivariate methods (PCA and GLMs) were used to distinguish the main factors influencing habitat selection and to model the presence of the Common Quail. Based on our results, in the LAJTA Project, high probability of Common Quail presence can be predicted in plots with higher herbaceous cover and more abundant arthropod communities. The network of ecotone habitats, particularly the proximity to woody habitats, also appeared to have significant importance during the breeding season.

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