Habitat selection of sympatric Siberian Grouse and Hazel Grouse in natural and exploited forests of the lower Amur region
In Memoriam Alexander (Sasha) V. Andreev
The Siberian Grouse (Falcipennis falcipennis), which is endemic to the “dark-needle” taiga of the Russian Far East, is one of the least studied grouse species in the world. We examined post-breeding habitat selection of Siberian Grouse and contrasted it with that of the better examined Hazel Grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) in two areas near Komsomolsk na Amure, Russia. To infer species-specific preferences, we used field sampling, logistic regression, and AIC model selection, and compared late summer habitats of Siberian Grouse and Hazel Grouse in a mountain- and hilly area in the dark needle taiga. Our study is the first to explain Siberian Grouse habitat relationships with an empirical modelling approach. Results indicate proportions of coniferous/ pioneer trees forest and rejuvenation to be the most important covariates separating Siberian and Hazel Grouse observation sites in forests from both areas. Siberian Grouse tended to select sites with low proportions of pioneer trees and rejuvenation but availability of dwarf shrubs. Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) appeared to be of high importance for the presence of Siberian Grouse in both regions. Hazel Grouse were common in places dominated by pioneer trees with high canopy cover, and high proportions of grass/herb cover. Hazel Grouse also occurred more often in forest sites with dense vertical layering and rejuvenation. Modern forestry, which results in increasing amounts of forests at younger successional stages, is likely to favour the Hazel Grouse at the expense of the Siberian Grouse.
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