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Meta-analyses of nest predation in temperate Australian forests and woodlands

Fulton, G.R. (2019) Meta-analyses of nest predation in temperate Australian forests and woodlands. Austral Ecology, 44 . pp. 389-396.

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Nest predation is the leading cause of nesting failure. Thus it is a crucial area of research needed to inform conservation management and to understand the life history of birds. I surveyed the literature to review the identity of nest predators and the factors affecting nest predation, in Australia using 177 studies. Overall, 94 nest predators were identified when incorporating artificial nests, 69 without. Using only natural nests, the Pied Currawong Strepera graculina was the most frequently reported nest predator. Five nest predators, including Pied Currawong, depredated 40% of the prey measured by the number of prey species taken. Yet, 60% of predation was carried out by the other 64 species, which included by the order of importance birds, mammals, reptiles, frogs and ants. Predation at cup and dome nests was more frequently reported than at burrow, ground and hollow nests. Only 28% of predators were observed at both artificial and natural nests suggesting artificial nests have limited, but not negligible, ability as tools for identifying predators. There was a highly significant and positive correlation between predator and prey masses. The predator prey mass ratio was calculated with a mean 0.25 and a median 0.22, a result closely matching with the proportional size of prey taken by raptors. The finding that predator size is proportional to prey opens a pathway for more life history and conservation research.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2019 Ecological Society of Australia
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