Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 29/3-4 | 1992 | 137-154

  Caracteristics and typology of territories of the Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collutio) in Gaume (southern Belgium).
Van Nieuwenhuyse, D. & Vandekerkhove, K.

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Article summary

The habitat of the Red-backed Shrike in Gaume has been analysed on the basis of over ten years'observations. The terrain elements of importance for the selection of the territory are described. For each territory, a numerical representation was obtained by measuring 19 parameters from their graphical representations. These numbers were analysed by the clustering programme TWINSPAN. The Red-backed Shrike chooses territories where low vegetation alternates with tall vegetation. The latter constitutes an excellent environment for the reproduction of prey, the former being ideal for hunting. Hedges and thorny bushes serve as perfect breeding sites and they are abundant in pastures. The presence of water is of indirect importance in that it affects the kind of prey on offer. The conservation of habitats is assured by the way cattle farmers manage their farms, i.e. creating pastures lined with hedges, mowing hayfields and trimming hedges. Any drastic changes in farming practises would be a death knell for the species. Numerical analysis give six different types of territory which have several common typological characteristics but they can be distinguished one from another by the relative importance of one or other typological characteristic. It is flexibility in the choice of a territory which enables the species to obtain high densities locally.