NIJLAND F & TIMMERMAN A (2017) Habitat choice of Common Snipes Gallinago gallinago staging in wet grasslands during spring and autumn migration. LIMOSA 90 (3): 118-127.
In the eighties of the last century, habitat choice of Common
Snipes staging in grasslands was investigated during spring
and autumn migration. Fields were visited to flush all snipes
present, and habitat characteristics were described. The
density of snipes generally increased with the wetness of the
field, although (almost) no snipes occurred in completely
flooded grasslands. Summer polders (grasslands that are
flooded in winter) were wetter compared to winter polders
(grasslands that never get flooded), especially in March and
April. Indeed, summer polders contained more snipes than
winter polders during spring migration. No such differences
in density were found for autumn migration (AugustNovember).
However, we found that habitat selection within
fields varied between the polder types. In the relatively wet
summer polders, 64% of the snipes were found on the fields
and 32% along trenches and ditches. Instead, in the relatively
dry winter polders, 24% of the snipes were found on the
fields and 64% along trenches and ditches. When comparing
the characteristics of the exact locations where snipes were
found with the characteristics of the whole field, it appeared
that snipes chose spots that were relatively wet, uneven, and
with a moderately high and heterogeneous vegetation.
Mowing or grazing by cattle did not affect the density of
snipes, but only the distribution within fields as mown or
grazed fields were relatively dry.
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