, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 395-399

Influence of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes, Linnaeus 1758) on the distribution and number of breeding birds in an intensively used farmland

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This study tested the hypothesis that small birds at their nest sites avoid areas around dens of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes, Linneaus 1758) in an intensively used farmland. Birds were counted at 18 points (radius 100 m) located near dens, as well as at 18 control points that were located at least 600 m away from the nearest den. These two types of points did not differ with respect to the number of recorded bird species. However, a negative effect of the proximity of fox dens on the total density of the bird community was observed. This effect was also recorded for the most abundant bird species, the skylark (Alauda arvensis, Linneaus 1758). In agreement with our expectations, these results indicate a negative impact of fox presence on a breeding bird community in an open farmland.