Bird-habitat associations in the Eastern Highlands of Scotland

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Authors: Brown, A.F. and Stillman, R.A.

Journal: Journal of Applied Ecology

Volume: 30

Issue: 1

Pages: 31-42

ISSN: 0021-8901

Classification and ordination suggested that the distributions of the bird specis could not be considered as a number of discrete groups at the level of the sampling unit. The major gradient of variation in the distribution of species was strongly correlated with site altitude. A suite of factors was associated with the distribution and abundance of the eight most abundant species of upland birds (those occurring on at least 10% of the 71 1km 2 sites). Numbers of curlew Numenius arquata, skylark Alauda arvensis and whinchat Saxicola rubetra wre related to locational, topographic and vegetation and habitat structure variables; red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus, golden plover Pluvialis apricaria and meadow pipit Anthus pratensis each to two of these variable types; wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe with only vegetation and habitat structure variables; whilst snipe Gallinago gallinago were not associated with any of the variables. Patterns in the associations of the eight most abundant species were related to three gradients of variation within the habitat data: a gradient from southwest, with higher cover of grass and bracken Pteridium aquilinum, to north-east, with higher cover of heath; a gradient from E sites with higher cover of grass and bracken to W sites with high cover of flush and flush/heath mosaics; and a gradient of increasing altitude. -from Authors

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