This study analyses the winter colonization of an archipelago of 31 forests (0·1–350 ha) in central Spain by the guild of pariforms ( Parus, Aegithalos, Regulus, Sitta and Certhia ). Two hypotheses are considered: (a) that birds with similar habitat preferences tend to disappear simultaneously with the reduction in forest size, leading to a ‘nested’ pattern of species distribution; or (b) that the species in the smallest forests are a random sample of those found in the larger ones. The results support hypothesis (a). The species that depend on relatively scarce resources, such as tree trunks and junipers Juniperus thurifera ( Sitta europaea, Certhia brachydactyla, Parus cristatus and P.ater ) only occupied the largest forests. On the other hand, species that exploit abundant, ubiquitous resources, such as holm oak Quercus ilex foliage ( Regulus ignicapillus and Parus caeruleus ), were distributed uniformly throughout all the fragments. These results emphasize the need for a better understanding of habitat selection by species when designing conservation strategies for fragmented populations.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 1995
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