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Zoological Research
Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 2095-8137
Vol. 27, No. 4, 2006, pp. 351-356
Bioline Code: zr06051
Full paper language: Chinese
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Zoological Research, Vol. 27, No. 4, 2006, pp. 351-356

 en Population Dynamics and Breeding Space Niche of Four Heron Species in Tanghai Wetlands
LI Ju-yong, LI Su-ping, SUN Yan-feng, WU Yue-feng, WU Ming-lu


The population dynamics and breeding behaviors of Black-crowned Night Herons ( Nycticorax nycticorax check for this species in other resources ), Egrets ( Egtetta garzetta check for this species in other resources ), Chinese Pond Herons ( Ardeola bacchus check for this species in other resources ) and Great Egrets ( Casmerodius albus check for this species in other resources ) were observed in Tanghai Wetlands, Hebei Province from August 2004 to July 2005. Further, we studied the relationship of nest space distribution and directly calculated the nest density of vertical and horizontal levels, the niche overlapping index and the niche breadth. The results showed that there were two breeding areas, named Area I and Area II. The maximum population occurred in the period from April to September and was approximately 5800 individuals. Area I was occupied earlier than Area II by approximately half a month. In the breeding period, Black-crowned Night Herons were dominant in numbers and most occupied the upper nests of the core areas. Great Egrets also took the upper nests but they have the smallest population. Most Egrets took the middle nests of the edges of the area. Chinese Pond Herons, with a smaller population than the Egret, mostly nested in the edges, but some of them also took the lower nests of the core area. On the whole, the vertical niche of Egrets is the widest, the horizontal niche of Black-crowned Night Herons is the widest and the niche breadth of Chinese Pond Herons is the largest. The nest distribution pattern is the most similar between Chinese Pond Herons and Black-crowned Night Herons, and the niche overlapping index of Chinese Pond Herons and Egrets is the largest. Black-crowned Night Herons and Great Egrets control Egrets and Chinese Pond Herons in competition. Rich food and the optimal ecological environments lead to plenty of herons in the wetlands. In addition, it is a distinguishing feature of the four species that nests are built in poplar trees over 22 m tall.

Tanghai Wetlands; Breeding herons; Population dynamics; Nest areas; Spatial niche

© Copyright 2006 Kunming Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
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