Breeding biology of Magpie Pica pica in a montane area of Aragon

Authors: AdriÁn PONZ and José Antonio GIL-DELGADO

Published: Volume 51(2), December 2004. Pages 411-423.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: Biología reproductiva de la Urraca Pica pica en un Área de montaña de Aragón

Keywords: Breeding success, Magpie, nest type and predation


Aims: The main aim of this study is to describe the breeding success of the Magpie Pica pica in a montane area of Aragon and the main factors that are related to this variable.

Location: Pitarque (Teruel)

Methods: The breeding biology of the Magpie was analysed in 40 nests found in the study area by regular nest searching during the breeding seasons of 1994 and 1995. The reproductive success was related with the following variables: year, nest height, nest type in relation to the vegetal structure where the nest was built, laying date, clutch size, fledgling number, or type of nest (domed or undomed).

Results: The population size oscillated between 33-41 individuals. Magpies started their breeding season in April with a mean clutch size of 6.8 eggs. Clutch size showed a negative and linear relationship with laying date. Mean hatching success was 57%, mean fledging success was 47% and mean breeding success was 27%. This population produced 1.84 chicks per breeding pair and 4.18 chicks per successful pair. Fifty-five percent of nests failed completely. Predation, hatching failure and desertion were the main causes of breeding failure (27%, 19% y 16%, respectively, according to total number of eggs).

Conclusions: The breeding success of Magpies in the study area did not differ between domed and undomed nests. Clutch size and laying date were not related with breeding success.

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