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Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2007.01826.x
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Title (Primary) Spatial distribution of communal nests in a colonial breeding bird: benefits without costs?
Author Gie├čelmann, U.C.; Wiegand, T.; Meyer, J.; Vogel, M.; Brandl, R.
Source Titel Austral Ecology
Year 2008
Department BZF; OESA
Volume 33
Issue 5
Page From 607
Page To 613
Language englisch
Keywords coloniality; intercolony competition; Philetairus socius; Ripley's K; spatial pattern
Abstract The spatial organization of individuals, or groups of individuals, within a population can provide valuable information about social organization and population dynamics. We analysed the spatial distribution of nests of the sociable weaver (Philetairus socius) on two farms in the Kalahari. Sociable weavers build large communal nests on big savannah trees, forming a pattern of trees with and without nests. We used two spatial statistics, Ripley's K and the pair correlation function, to describe characteristics of the point patterns over a range of distances. (i) At distances of 200 and 300 m, communal nests were clustered. (ii) At distances greater than 1000 m, communal nests were regularly distributed. These findings are independent of the spatial distribution of trees. Furthermore, we used Moran's I to analyse spatial autocorrelation of nest sizes. We expected negative autocorrelation because of competition between nests. But on both farms there was no significant autocorrelation of nest sizes for any distance class. The regular distribution observed at larger distances may indicate competition and/or territoriality among different nests, but the lack of spatial autocorrelation between nest sizes suggests that these interactions may happen between nest clusters rather than between single nests. This was confirmed by significant clustering of nests on small scales. We thus suggest, that colonies of P. socius consist of several nests on adjacent trees forming a cluster of subcolonies. The question why sociable weavers establish subcolonies instead of adding more chambers to the natal nest, could not simply be answered by limitation of nesting space. We suggest a strategy to avoid costs due to increasing colony size.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Gie├čelmann, U.C., Wiegand, T., Meyer, J., Vogel, M., Brandl, R. (2008):
Spatial distribution of communal nests in a colonial breeding bird: benefits without costs?
Austral Ecol. 33 (5), 607 - 613 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2007.01826.x