The use of habitat by female and male adult capercaillie Tetrao urogallus during summer and autumn was studied by comparing the distribution of radio locations of birds with the availability of habitat at forest stand, home range and landscape level in an area of the Bavarian Alps, Germany. Capercaillie preferred forests with structural features typical of their main distribution range, the boreal forest: they selected large patches of old forest with moderate canopy cover of about 50%, and a well developed field layer with high proportions of bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus . Hens selected both home ranges and sites within home ranges in old forest. Ranges selected by cocks did not differ from availability in the study area, but they preferred old forest within their ranges. The size of home ranges was negatively related to bilberry cover both in hens and cocks. The distribution of bilberry also determined habitat use by capercaillie at the landscape scale. The study demonstrated that bilberry is the major determinant of the selection of habitat by capercaillie in landscapes with sparse and fragmentary cover of ericaceous shrubs, such as central Europe.
Oecologia – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 1993
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