Publication Date: 2017.
Many forest bird species require tree cavities for nesting, and share this resource with a diverse community of animals. When cavities are limited, niche overlap can result in interspecific competition, with negative consequences for threatened populations. Vinaceous-breasted Parrots (Amazona vinacea) are endangered cavity nesters endemic to the subtropical Atlantic Forest, where cavities are scarce. We examined nest niche overlap among Vinaceous-breasted Parrots and 9 potential competitors (birds and mammals >140 g, and social insects) in Argentina, considering (1) timing of breeding, (2) characteristics of cavities (depth, entrance diameter, height), trees (diameter at breast height DBH, species, condition), and habitat (surrounding land use, distance to edge), and (3) interspecific cavity reuse. During 10 breeding seasons we studied nests and roosts, measured their characteristics, and monitored cavities to detect reuse. We used multinomial logistic regression to determine whether the 6 most abundant taxa differed in nest and roost site characteristics. Timing of breeding overlapped for all bird species except the White-eyed Parakeet (Psittacara leucophthalmus). No combination of cavity, tree, and habitat characteristics predicted the taxa that utilized cavities. Moreover, 8 of the 10 taxa reused cavities interspecifically. The high level of overlap in realized nest niche, combined with previous evidence that cavities could limit bird density in our study area, suggest the possibility of interspecific competition for cavities among multiple taxa. Although models did not perform well at classifying cavities by taxon, some characteristics of cavities, trees, and habitat were selected more by Vinaceous-breasted Parrots than by other taxa, and we recommend targeting conservation efforts toward cavities and trees with these characteristics (7-40 cm entrance diameter, >10 m high, DBH >55 cm). We found 62% of Vinaceous-breasted Parrot nests on farms (vs. ≤50% for other taxa), highlighting the importance of working with local farmers to conserve cavities in anthropogenic habitats as well as in protected areas.
Author affiliation: Bonaparte, Eugenia Bianca. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Salta. Instituto de Bio y Geociencias del NOA. Universidad Nacional de Salta. Facultad de Ciencias Naturales. Museo de Ciencias Naturales. Instituto de Bio y Geociencias del NOA; Argentina. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba; Argentina
Author affiliation: Cockle, Kristina Louise. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Salta. Instituto de Bio y Geociencias del NOA. Universidad Nacional de Salta. Facultad de Ciencias Naturales. Museo de Ciencias Naturales. Instituto de Bio y Geociencias del NOA; Argentina. University of British Columbia; Canadá
Repository: CONICET Digital (CONICET). Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas