Inter-locality variation in breeding phenology and nesting habitat of the citril finch Carduelis citrinella in the Catalonian Pre-Pyrenees

Authors: Marc Imanuel FÖRSCHLER, Antoni BORRAS, Elisabeth K. V. KALKO, Josep CABRERA, Toni CABRERA and Juan Carlos SENAR

Published: Volume 53(1), June 2006. Pages 115-126.

Language: English

Keywords: Citril finch, Carduelis citrinella, breeding phenology, nesting habitat and inter-locality variation


Aims: Considerable variations have been found amongst several citril finch sub-populations at Port del Comte mountain in the Catalonian Pre-Pyrenees in reproductive success, body mass, fat score, diet, survival rate and speed of moult due to different habitat quality and different slope exposition. In line with these studies, the aim of this study was to investigate variations in breeding phenology and nesting habitat between north-facing high quality areas (Vansa) and south-facing low quality areas (Bofia) as well as east-facing areas of intermediate quality (Port Comte / Sucre). Since the species habitat requirements have been little studied before, another aim of this study was the recording of some basic data on the phenology of this species and its nesting habitat in Spain.

Location: The slopes of Port del Comte mountain (Catalonian Pre-Pyrenees).

Results and Conclusions: As expected, variations were found in breeding phenology and nesting habitat. Birds on the moister and cooler north-and east-facing slopes (Vansa, Port Comte) started breeding earlier than did birds from the drier and sunnier south-facing slopes (Bofia). All nests at the slightly more elevated locality of Bofia were built in mountain pines Pinus mugo, while at the other two study sites a small proportion of the nests were also situated in scots pines Pinus sylvestris. Nests were built mainly in the top of the trees or in large side branches at a similar height above ground. At Bofia solitary trees were more often used instead of tree groups or forest than at the other sites. Furthermore, nests were situated at greater distance from each other and the proportion of subadult birds with breeding activity was higher at Bofia.

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