ISSN 1062-3590, Biology Bulletin, 2017, Vol. 44, No. 7, pp. 728–734. © Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2017.
Original Russian Text © V.V. Gavrilov, 2015, published in Zoologicheskii Zhurnal, 2015, Vol. 94, No. 9, pp. 1077–1083.
The Size and Layout of Waders’ Nests in the Yakutia Tundra
V. V. Gavrilov
Department of Biology, Moscow State University, Skadovsky Zvenigorod Biological Station, Moscow, 119991 Russia
Received May 25, 2014
Abstract—Studies were carried out in Yakutia (Nizhnekolymsk district) from May 15–20 to August 5–20 in
1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990. A total of 308 nests of ten wader species were found and described. The
sizes of the waders’ nests correspond to those of the birds. The smaller wader species have heavier nests. The
nests located in wet habitats are masked to a greater extent; they are deeper and have a thicker litter. The larger
species, in which both parents incubate eggs, have the most open nests; these species breed in relatively dry
habitats. The nests of small species, in which only one parent incubates eggs, are better equipped and masked;
these birds breed in wetter sites. The location, shelters, and layouts of nests are related to the social organiza-
tion of the species, namely, to the number of the birds incubating eggs.
Keywords: waders, habitat, nests, size, social organization
Birds build nests of various shapes and sizes, but
the main functions of nests are to ensure the integrity
and community of a clutch, to protect eggs from pred-
ators, and to create a favorable microclimate with a
view to protecting against unfavorable weather condi-
tions (Hansell, 2000; Hansell and Deeming, 2002;
Heenan and Seymour, 2011). For birds nesting in the
tundra zone, the layout and location of nests become
even more important and are closely related to the
peculiarities of the nesting ecology of a species (Irving,
1972; Kondratyev, 1982; Mikhailov, 1986; McCracken
et al., 1997; Gavrilov, 1998, 2013; Reid et al., 2002;
Tulp et al., 2012).
The description of the layout and location of nests
of waders that breed in tundra of Northeast Asia is pre-
sented in the monograph by Kondratyev (1982), where
he notes that all waders make their nests according to
a general scheme, but they differ in location and lay-
out. However, the sizes of waders’ nests (except for the
thickness of the nest litter) are not presented in the
monograph; therefore, the comparison of the species
characteristics of the nests is descriptive.
This article describes the layout and location of
waders' nests in the tundra zone of northeastern Yaku-
tia and presents their sizes. The aim of this work is to
reveal general regularities in the size and layout of
waders’ nests and the influence of certain features of
the ecology and behavior of various species on them.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The research was conducted from May 15–20 to
August 5–20 in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990 at
two stations of the ornithological department of the
Institute for Biological Problems of the North of the
Far East Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the
Soviet Union (at present, the Russian Academy of Sci-
ences) (IBPN, FEB, ASSU (RAS)) in Nizhnekolymsk
district of Yakutia. In 1984 and 1985, the studies were
performed on the southern shore of Nerpichye Lake,
at the point where the Nerpichye-Viski flows into it. In
1987, 1988, and 1990, the studies were carried out at
the confluence of the Bolshaya Konkovaya and
Malaya Konkovaya rivers. Both stations are located on
the left bank of the Kolyma River, at a distance of
about 30 and 100 km from it and about 45 km from the
coast of the East Siberian Sea. The distance between
the stations is about 65 km. The results of studies at
both stations were combined. The coordinates of the
study site (69°30′ N, 158°30′ E) were determined from
topographic maps (1 cm per 2 km).
The nest is understood not only as a special con-
struction made by a bird in the form of a hollow in the
soil with litter brought to it and enveloping edges, but
also as any place where eggs lie.
When a nest is built, its position on differently
exposed slopes, location relative to nearby objects
(shelters), shelter of the nest, and variants of the layout
of the nest itself are fixed.
Hillocks, rocks, hummocks with grass, and groups
of bushes, i.e., objects that can cover the nest from the