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Data of two neotropical Colaptes woodpeckers' nests fate and environmental features associated with them

Citation

Jauregui, Adrian (2022), Data of two neotropical Colaptes woodpeckers' nests fate and environmental features associated with them, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cjsxksn8z

Abstract

Understanding factors affecting nest survival of woodpeckers in threatened landscapes is a key tool for land managers, particularly when conservation depends on public policies. However, information of Neotropical woodpeckers breeding in southern temperate forests is noticeably sparse despite the worrying conservation status of these ecosystems and woodpeckers’ key role as cavity providers. Our objective was to assess the relationship between tree cavity features, vegetation structure, and landscape configuration on the nest survival of the Green-barred Woodpecker (Colaptes melanochloros) and the Campo Flicker (C. campestris). We monitored nests of these woodpeckers during three breeding seasons from 2015–2018 in a woodland of east-central Argentina threatened by selective tree logging and soil material extraction. We recorded features that presumably influence nest survival at a micro-scale (cavity, cavity-tree features, and foliage cover around the cavity) and a macro-scale (forest cover and shape index within a 500 m circle around the nest). We did not find support for a relationship between daily nest survival rates (DSR) and cavity features, vegetation structure, or landscape configuration. However, new cavities were more successful than reused ones for the Green-barred Woodpecker. We also found a surprisingly high rate (~33% of nest failures) of nest abandonment for both species. Abandonment may be a factor regulating this population and causes of abandonment warrants further investigation. Given the importance of new cavities to the success of Green-barred Woodpeckers, our results indicate the preservation of medium-size trees (20 cm < DBH < 50 cm) with wood softened by degradation processes (preferred by the species to excavate cavities) would facilitate persistence of both of this woodpecker and the cavity-nesting community. Effective audit of soil material extraction and controlled selective timber logging practices (including preservation of mature trees) in compliance with existing regulations could contribute to this type of habitat maintenance.

Methods

Data were collected in Punta Indio,Buenos Aires, Argentina. We searched for nests of Colaptes campestris and Colaptes melanochloros (two Neotropical woodpeckers) during three breeding seasons. We monitored them until the nesting attempt finished (successful or failed) and then registered cavity and landscape features to later assess whether fate is related to environmental characteristics at two spatial scales. 

Usage Notes

R software is required to run analyses

Funding

Fondo para la Investigación Científica y Tecnológica