Nest defensibility decreases home-range size in central place foragers

T.K. Lameris (Corresponding author), J.S. Brown, Erik Kleyheeg, P.A. Jansen, F. van Langevelde

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Variation in the home-range size of nesting animals is thought to be driven by nutritional requirements, food availability, and predation
risk of the animals during foraging. Only few studies have considered that the risk of nest predation may also affect home-range size
because nests become more difficult to defend as animals move further away. We used a theoretical model to explore the combined
effects of nest defensibility, nest predation risk, and food availability on foraging distance from the nest, and hence home-range size. In
our model, foragers adjust the foraging distance around the central place such that the required amount of food is collected within the
available time with the lowest predation risk for the nest. We found that foraging distance decreased with food availability and the risk
of nest predation during absence, but also with nest defensibility. When food was abundant, both nest predation risk and defensibility
hardly influenced foraging distance. When food was scarce, animals able to deter predators foraged close-by, whereas animals less
able to deter predators foraged further away. Likewise, animals that were themselves vulnerable to predation stayed closer to their
nest if the nest provided safety, as is typical for central place foragers. This study is the first to assess the importance of nest defense
and nest predation risk for foraging distance of central place foragers and provides a better understanding of the drivers of homerange
Original languageEnglish
Article numberary077
Pages (from-to)1038-1045
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number5
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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