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Diel timing of nest predation changes across breeding season in a subtropical shorebird
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  • Martin Sládeček,
  • Kateřina Brynychová,
  • Esmat Elhassan,
  • Miroslav Salek,
  • Veronika Janatová,
  • Eva Vozabulová,
  • Petr Chajma,
  • Veronika Firlová,
  • Lucie Pešková,
  • Aisha Almuhery,
  • Martin Bulla
Martin Sládeček
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Kateřina Brynychová
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Esmat Elhassan
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Miroslav Salek
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Veronika Janatová
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Eva Vozabulová
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Petr Chajma
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Veronika Firlová
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Lucie Pešková
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Aisha Almuhery
Dubai Municipality
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Martin Bulla
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Abstract

Predation is the most common cause of nest failure in birds. While nest predation is relatively well studied in general, our knowledge is unevenly distributed across the globe and taxa, with for example limited information on shorebirds breeding in sub-tropics. Importantly, we know fairly little about the timing of predation within a day and season. Here, we followed 444 nests of red-wattled lapwings (Vanellus indicus), a ground-nesting shorebird, for a sum of 7828 days to estimate a nest predation rate, and continuously monitored 230 of these nests for a sum of 2779 days to reveal how the timing of predation changes over the day and season in a sub-tropical desert. We found that 312 nests (70%) hatched, 76 nests (17%) were predated, 23 (5%) failed for other reasons and 33 (7%) had an unknown fate. Daily predation rate was 0.95% (95%CrI: 0.76% – 1.19%), which for a 30-day long incubation period translates into ~25% (20% – 30%) chance of nest being predated. Such a predation rate is low compared to most other avian species. Predation events (N = 25) were distributed evenly across day and night, with a tendency for increased predation around sunrise. Predation rate and events were distributed evenly also across the season, although night predation was more common later in the season, perhaps because predators reduce their activity during daylight to avoid extreme heat. Indeed, nests were never predated when mid-day ground temperatures exceeded 45°C. Whether the diel activity pattern of resident predators undeniably changes across the breeding season and whether the described predation patterns hold for other populations, species and geographical regions awaits future investigations.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

27 May 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
27 May 2021Assigned to Editor
27 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
28 May 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned