Distribution and habitat preferences of the urban Woodpigeon

Sakhvon, V. & Kövér, L. Distribution and habitat preferences of the urban Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) in the north-eastern breeding range in Belarus // Landscape and urban planning. – 2020. – Vol. 201. – P. 29–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103846

Abstract. The Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) is a species typically known for its successful colonization of urban habitats across Europe in the last century. However, this is a comparably new phenomenon for Belarus because active colonization of towns and cities by the urban Woodpigeon only started within this country in the late 2000s. The spread of the urban Woodpigeon, from the first breeding birds originating at the west border to as far as 530 km to the east of Belarus, occurred during a 25–30-year period. Also previously studied was the spatial distribution, habitat preferences and some nest characteristics of the urban Woodpigeon in Minsk, the largest city of Belarus, in 2012–2017. The average density of breeding pairs decreased from public gardens and parks to green plantations near multistoried buildings. In city blocks, the percentage of the ground covered by grass vegetation, tree crowns and the number of trees can negatively influence nest site selection of the Woodpigeon and indicate that pigeons chose the most urbanized places. Also, the distance to the nests of avian predators (the Hooded Crow and the Eurasian Magpie) was a significant factor negatively affecting the selection of nest sites by the urban Woodpigeon. The selection of nest sites in places with vehicle traffic and human disturbance as a way of avoiding predators was discussed. The analysis of the nest sites of the Woodpigeon in urban habitats showed that from 19 plant species or taxa, this species mainly selected the linden (Tilia cordata) (53.5%). Concerning the nest characteristics among urban habitats we did not find essential differences.

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