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The breeding performance of raptors in urban landscapes: a review and meta-analysis
Kettel, Esther F.; Gentle, Louise K.; Quinn, John L.; Yarnell, Richard W.
Global urbanisation is rapidly increasing and can have profound impacts on wild flora and fauna. For many species, the impacts are detrimental and irreversible, whereas others are able to colonise and apparently thrive in these novel, human-made environments. Raptors are particularly susceptible to changes in the environment due to their position at the end of the food chain, yet some species are increasingly associated with towns and cities. To explore the impact of urbanisation on raptors, we reviewed the literature and compared breeding performance in urban and rural populations globally. In general, raptors began breeding earlier and had larger brood sizes in urban compared to rural environments. However, some of these raptors also fledged fewer young in urban habitats, apparently caused largely by a lack of prey and, in some cases, increased human disturbance. As such, urban environments may act as ecological traps for some raptor species. Species differed in their response to urbanisation. In particular, specialist bird predators such as Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) had a higher breeding performance (clutch size, brood size, number to fledge and nest success) and showed a positive response to urbanisation compared to those that predate on small mammals, such as Eurasian Kestrels (F. tinnunculus), which showed a negative response. This suggests that prey availability is one of the most important determinants of the success of urban-nesting raptors. We demonstrate a need for continued research into the breeding performance of raptors that live in urban environments, and stress the importance of focusing on the reasons for any differences in breeding performance between urban and non-urban environments in order to aid conservation and management efforts for this iconic bird group.
Keyword(s): Urban ecology; Avian conservation; Urbanisation; Productivity; Bird of prey
Publication Date:
Type: Review
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: University College Cork
Citation(s): Kettel, E. F., Gentle, L. K., Quinn, J. L. and Yarnell, R. W. (2018) 'The breeding performance of raptors in urban landscapes: a review and meta-analysis', Journal of Ornithology, 159(1), pp. 1-18. doi: 10.1007/s10336-017-1497-9
Publisher(s): Springer International Publishing AG
File Format(s): application/pdf
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First Indexed: 2018-07-19 06:30:59 Last Updated: 2018-07-19 06:30:59