CIE Spotlight: Human residential status and habitat quality affect the likelihood but not the success of lapwing breeding in an urban matrix

Adam C., Daniel L., Craig S. and Mike W.
Adam C., Daniel L., Craig S. and Mike W.

Title: Human residential status and habitat quality affect the likelihood but not the success of lapwing breeding in an urban matrix

Authors: Roche, Dylan V.; Cardilini, Adam P. A.; Lees, Daniel; Maguire, Grainne S.; Dann, Peter; Sherman, Craig D. H.; Weston, Michael A.

Source: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 556 189-195, JUN 15 2016

Brief summary of the paper: Wildlife living in the suburbs faces the challenge of dealing with human presence and yard management (including the occurrence of pets) which vary at the scale of the house block.

This study examined the influence of ecological factors (e.g. extent of grass and food availability) and anthropogenic factors (e.g. human activity and garden usage) on breeding site choice and reproductive success of the ground-nesting masked lapwingVanellus miles on Phillip Island, Australia.

Lapwings nested less frequently in residential properties (high levels of human usage) compared with vacant blocks and holiday houses. They were also more likely to breed on properties with high food availability and larger areas of grass. None of these variables influenced clutch size or the probability of eggs hatching, although larger clutches and higher hatching rates tended to be associated with more food.

This study shows that, for an urban exploiting species, habitat quality is not homogenous at the scale of the house block, and that human activity is avoided by a species generally considered highly tolerant of people.