Arthropod abundance and breeding performance of Tits in deciduous,evergreen oakwoods and pine reafforestation of Sicily (Italy)

Massa B., Lo Valvo F.

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Abstract:

The aims of this research, carried out in 1993-96, were: l) to ascertain the existence of differences in resource abundance between deciduous and evergreen oakwoods; 2) to verify the overlap degree of the peak resource and the peak-demand of young Tits in the two oakwoods; 3) to study the breeding performance ofTits (Parus major and P. caeruleus) in relation to resource parameters in woodlots dominated by trees of different species which are part of the same woodland, namely evergreen Quercus ilex, deciduous Quercus pubescens and Pinus halepensis reafforestation. In the four years of this research clutch size, number of fledglings and arthropod abundance were higher in the oakwoods than in the pine reafforestation; the arthropod abundance coincided with the peak of demand by young, particularly in deciduous oakwood. Blue and Great Tits breeding in oakwoods appeared to be significantly more successful than in reafforestation sites; clutches generally were larger and started earlier in the oakwoods than in reafforestation. Even if differences in the arthropod abundance between deciduous and evergreen oakwoods were detected, no important differences in the breeding performance were noticed in the four years, while they were observed in the pine reafforestation in respect to oakwoods, both for Great and Blue Tit.