Dispersal, ranging and settling behaviour of Marsh Tits Poecile palustris in a fragmented landscape in lowland England

Broughton, Richard K.; Hill, Ross A.; Bellamy, Paul E.; Hinsley, Shelley A.. 2010 Dispersal, ranging and settling behaviour of Marsh Tits Poecile palustris in a fragmented landscape in lowland England. Bird Study, 57. 458-472.

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Capsule: Natal dispersal was rapid and distances were short. Winter ranging and breeding dispersal were limited. Few birds undertook large movements. Aims: To investigate the natal and breeding dispersal of Marsh Tits, including the timing of dispersal movements. Methods: Nestlings, juveniles and adults were ringed and searched for over 4500 ha during summer, autumn–winter, and spring over six years. Dispersal distances were measured as metric distances and multiples of territory widths. Ranging distances were compared with dispersal distances. Results: Median distances of natal dispersal were 2.6 territory widths for males (704.5 m) and 3.1 territory widths for females (1065.0 m). Median distances of breeding dispersal were 0.2 territory widths for males and females (58.6 and 53.1 m respectively). Most natal dispersal was completed soon after independence, with further movement in spring. Breeding dispersal was also detected during these periods. Median ranging distances were short, and some winter floaters were identified. Conclusion: Marsh Tits had short dispersal distances, with most dispersal activity occurring in June. Results suggested that dispersal behaviour was sensitive to habitat fragmentation, resulting in poor settling success outside of the natal wood. Habitat fragmentation may, therefore, be a contributory factor in the decline of the Marsh Tit population in Britain.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISSN: 0006-3657
Additional Keywords: marsh tit, dispersal, woodland birds
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 08 Dec 2010 14:46 +0 (UTC)

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