Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/36285
Iceland is a globally important breeding area for a variety of ground-nesting wader species.
This includes Eurasian Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus), which are unique waders
in that they: hatch semi-precocial chicks dependent on parental feeding, are partially
migratory, and utilize both coastal and inland breeding territories. This system presents a
unique opportunity to study the influences that differences in habitat quality have on
breeding success and behavior of chicks. Little is known about patterns of habitat selection
of wader species breeding in Iceland, or comparative breeding success of oystercatchers
utilizing different habitats. This study identified and compared the breeding success and
fledging age of oystercatchers breeding in different habitat types in the South, West, and
Westfjords of Iceland. Additionally, provisioning data was obtained for the Westfjords
region. The results show that productivity was influenced by habitat (p<0.001) and by
region (p<0.001), and was higher in regions of predominantly coastal habitat use.
Additionally, fledging success was influenced by habitat (p<0.001) and by region (p<0.01).
Differences on predation rates and resource availability are most likely driving variances in
reproductive success. Oystercatchers in the Westfjords increasingly fed their chicks small,
coastal prey as chicks grew, which may also reflect an unavailability of terrestrial prey
items, but provisioning studies should continue in the future to provide further information
on resource use. Fledging age was similar across regions and habitat types, but more data
is needed to explore this further. Understanding how oystercatchers are utilizing different
resources, and how that might change and be translated into breeding success, is vital for
understanding their population ecology and effectively contributing to management
decisions of important bird areas.
|jcarroll_thesis.pdf||2.45 MB||Open||Complete Text||View/Open|