Foraging habitat selection by yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella)nesting in agriculturally contrasting regions in lowland England

Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) Science Article 2


Fine-scale habitat use by yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella) searching for food to provision nestlings was compared in threeagriculturally contrasting regions of lowland England. Log-linear modelling was used to test for signi?cant overall variation inhabitat use and signi?cant di?erences in relative use between pairs of habitats. Yellowhammers provisioned nestlings non-randomlywith respect to habitat availability. Habitat selection was found to be generally consistent across the three regions; ?eld boundarystructures and barley crops were the most selected foraging habitats, while intensively-managed grass ?elds were avoided relative tovirtually all other habitats. The observed patterns of habitat selection are likely to result from an interaction of food abundance andvarying accessibility to food, mediated by sward structure. The geographical generality of the results allows reasons to be suggestedfor the recent rapid population decline of the species and general conservation recommendations to be made with respect to lowlandfarmland. # 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Antony J. Morri, Mark J. Whittingham, Richard B. Bradbury, Biological Conservation 101 (2001) 197-210

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