Patterns of predator behaviour and Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix nest survival in a primaeval forest

Maziarz, Marta; Grendelmeier, Alex; Wiesołowski, Tomasz; Arlettaz, Raphaël; Broughton, Richard K.; Pasinelli, Gilberto (2019). Patterns of predator behaviour and Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix nest survival in a primaeval forest. Ibis, 161(4), pp. 854-866. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/ibi.12679

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Understanding the foraging behaviour of predators is key to interpreting the role of antipredator adaptations of birds in reducing nest losses. Conducting research in primaeval habitats, with a low level of direct human interference, is particularly valuable in the understanding of predator–prey interactions. Using nest cameras, we investigated the identity and behaviour of potential and actual predators appearing at Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix nests, and the importance of different predator groups for nest survival, in the primaeval part of Białowie_za Forest (Poland). Mammals formed the main predator group (30 of 32 nest depredations), particularly medium-sized carnivores (24 of 32), which attacked nests more frequently than merely passing by. This contrasted with other species, especially small rodents, which were commonly recorded near nests but rarely attacked them. Most nest attacks (22 of 32) took place at night and nest survival
did not depend on nest visibility, indicating a reduced utility of nest concealment in defence against predators using mainly sound or olfaction when hunting. Daily nest survival declined strongly with nest progression (from egg-laying to fledging of chicks), probably due to increased predator detection of nests containing older and louder chicks, rather than to increasing parental activity at nests during the day. The set of actual nest predators differed from some previous studies in human-transformed habitats, showing that Wood Warblers may face different threats in modified vs. near-pristine environments

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Arlettaz, Raphaël


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)








Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2020 13:59

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:37

Publisher DOI:





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