Volume 13 Issue 1
Mar.  2022
Turn off MathJax
Article Contents
Xingmin Chen, Qin Zhang, Sisi Lan, Shuihua Chen, Yanping Wang. 2022: Nest predation pressure on Chinese Bulbuls decreases along the urbanization gradient in Hangzhou, China. Avian Research, 13(1): 100049. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100049
Citation: Xingmin Chen, Qin Zhang, Sisi Lan, Shuihua Chen, Yanping Wang. 2022: Nest predation pressure on Chinese Bulbuls decreases along the urbanization gradient in Hangzhou, China. Avian Research, 13(1): 100049. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100049

Nest predation pressure on Chinese Bulbuls decreases along the urbanization gradient in Hangzhou, China

doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100049
More Information
  • Corresponding author: E-mail address: chensh@zmnh.com (S. Chen); E-mail address: wangyanping@njnu.edu.cn (Y. Wang)
  • Received Date: 01 May 2022
  • Accepted Date: 05 Jul 2022
  • Rev Recd Date: 04 Jul 2022
  • Available Online: 11 Oct 2022
  • Publish Date: 31 Jul 2022
  • Nest predation is an essential factor affecting bird population density, reproductive ecology and life cycle. However, there are still contradictory results about how nest predation pressure changes with urbanization. One of the reasons for the controversy is that previous studies often use artificial nests to investigate nest predation, but the result of artificial nests is often biased and contrary to that of natural nests. Therefore, it is important to perform nest predation experiments simultaneously with both natural and artificial nests. In this study, we examined the change of nest predation pressure on the Chinese Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis) along the urbanization gradient in Hangzhou, China. We detected 148 natural nests of Chinese Bulbuls and continuously monitored them in two continuous breeding seasons from 2012 to 2013. After the breeding season, we placed artificial eggs in natural nests of Chinese Bulbuls to investigate the changes in nest predation pressure and used infrared cameras to record the predators. We then calculated the urbanization synthetic index (USI) as the measure of the degree of urbanization and examined its relationship with nest predation pressure. We found that no matter whether natural nests or artificial eggs were used, the nest predation pressure always decreased significantly with the degree of urbanization. The average height of shrubs within 10 ​m of the nest differed significantly between the predated and unpredated nests, which also affected the risk of nest predation. Our study highlights the importance of using natural and artificial nests simultaneously to conduct nest predation experiments, which can reduce the bias or errors caused by only using artificial nests. We also recommend the use of infrared cameras in future nest predation studies, which has obvious advantages in monitoring and identifying potential predators.


  • loading
  • Arnfield, A.J., 2003. Two decades of urban climate research: a review of turbulence, exchanges of energy and water, and the urban heat island. Int. J. Climatol. 23, 1-26. doi: 10.1002/joc.859
    Berry, L., Lill, A., 2003. Do predation rates on artificial nests accurately predict predation rates on natural nests? The effects of nest type, egg type and nest-site characteristics. Emu 103, 207-214. doi: 10.1071/MU02054
    Bolger, D.T., Scott, T.A., Rotenberry, J.T., 1997. Breeding bird abundance in an urbanizing landscape in coastal Southern California. Conserv. Biol. 11, 406-421. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.1997.96307.x
    Bollmann, K., Reyer, H.U., 2001. Reproductive success of water pipits in an alpine environment. Condor 103, 510-520. doi: 10.1093/condor/103.3.510
    Borgmann, K.L., Rodewald, A.D., 2004. Nest predation in an urbanizing landscape: the role of exotic shrubs. Ecol. Appl. 14, 1757-1765. doi: 10.1890/03-5129
    Brahmia, Z., Scheifler, R., Crini, N., Maas, S., 2013. Breeding performance of blue tits (Cyanistes cæruleus ultramarinus) in relation to lead pollution and nest failure rates in rural, intermediate, and urban sites in Algeria. Environ. Pollut. 174, 171-178. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2012.11.028
    Buxton, V.L., Benson, T.J., 2015. Do natural areas in urban landscapes support successful reproduction by a group of conservation priority birds? Anim. Conserv. 18, 471-479. doi: 10.1111/acv.12198
    Chace, J.F., Walsh, J.J., 2006. Urban effects on native avifauna: a review. Landscape Urban Plan. 74, 46-69. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2004.08.007
    Chamberlain, D.E., Cannon, A.R., Toms, M.P., Leech, D.I., Hatchwell, B.J., Gaston, K.J., 2009. Avian productivity in urban landscapes: a review and meta-analysis. Ibis 151, 1-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2008.00899.x
    Chen, S., Ding, P., Zheng, G., Zhuge, Y., 2000. Effects of urbanization on wetland waterbird communities in Hangzhou. Zool. Res. 21, 279-285. doi: 10.1155/2000/842034
    Chen, W., Wu, Y., Hu, J., Yu, Z., Guo, Z., 2006. Nest site selection and materials of Pycnonotus sinensis in Nanchong, Sichuan. Sichuan J. Zool. 25, 590-593.
    Davis, S.K., 2005. Nest-site selection patterns and the influence of vegetation on nest survival of mixed-grass prairie passerines. Condor 107, 605-606. doi: 10.1093/condor/107.3.605
    Ding, P., Jiang, S., 2005. Microgeographic song variation in the Chinese Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinenesis) in urban areas of Hangzhou city. Zool. Res. 26, 453-459.
    Eötvös, C.B., Magura, T., Lövei, G.L., 2018. A meta-analysis indicates reduced predation pressure with increasing urbanization. Landscape Urban Plan. 180, 54-59. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.08.010
    Fleischer, A.L., Bowman, R., Woolfenden, G.E., 2003. Variation in foraging behavior, diet, and time of breeding of Florida scrub-jays in suburban and wildland habitats. Condor 105, 515-527. doi: 10.1093/condor/105.3.515
    Friesen, L.E., Casbourn, G., Martin, V., Mackay, R.J., 2013. Nest predation in an anthropogenic landscape. Wilson J. Ornithol. 125, 562-569. doi: 10.1676/12-169.1
    Gaston, K.J., Bennie, J.B., Davies, T.W., Hopkins, J., 2013. The ecological impacts of nighttime light pollution: a mechanistic appraisal. Biol. Rev. 88, 912-927. doi: 10.1111/brv.12036
    Gering, J.C., Blair, R.B., 1999. Predation on artificial bird nests along an urban gradient: predatory risk or relaxation in urban environments? Ecography 22, 532-541. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.1999.tb00542.x
    Gómez-Catasús, J., Barrero, A., Reverter, M., Bustillo-de la Rosa, D., Pérez-Granados, C., Traba, J., 2021. Landscape features associated to wind farms increase mammalian predator abundance and ground-nest predation. Biodivers. Conserv. 30, 2581-2604. doi: 10.1007/s10531-021-02212-9
    Gray, J.S., 1989. Effects of environmental stress on species rich assemblages. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 37, 19-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.1989.tb02003.x
    Greenwell, C.N., Calver, M.C., Loneragan, N.R., 2019. Cat gets its tern: a case study of predation on a threatened coastal seabird. Animals 9, 445. doi: 10.3390/ani9070445
    Grégoire, A., Garnier, S., Dréano, N., Faivre, B., 2003. Nest predation in Blackbirds (Turdus merula) and the influence of nest characteristics. Ornis Fennica 80, 1-10.
    Haskell, D.G., Knupp, A.M., Schneider, M.C., 2001. Nest predator abundance and urbanization. In: Marzluff, J.M., Bowman, R., Donelly, R. (Eds. ), Avian Ecology and Conservation in an Urbanizing World. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, pp. 243-258.
    Henschke, S.J., Bayne, E.M., Ball, J.R., 2016. Post-predation parental behavior of boreal songbirds. Wilson J. Ornithol. 128, 766-774. doi: 10.1676/15-106.1
    Holopainen, S., Väänänen, V.M., Vehkaoja, M., Fox, A.D., 2021. Do alien predators pose a particular risk to duck nests in Northern Europe? Results from an artificial nest experiment. Biol. Invasions 23, 3795-3807. doi: 10.1007/s10530-021-02608-2
    Jin, B., Liu, H., Lv, T., Wang Y., Jiang, P., Wang, Z., 2021. Fruits foraging and dispersal of Machilus ichangensis by frugivorous birds in Nanjing Botanical Garden Mem. Sun Yat-Sen. Ecol. Sci. 40, 149-154.
    Johnson, A.M., Karels, T.J., 2015. Partitioning the effects of habitat fragmentation on rodent species richness in an urban landscape. Urban Ecosyst. 19, 547-560.
    Johnson, M.T.J., Munshi-South, J., 2017. Evolution of life in urban environments. Science 358, eaam8327. doi: 10.1126/science.aam8327
    Jokimäki, J., Huhta, E., 2000. Artificial nest predation and abundance of birds along an urban gradient. Condor 102, 838-847. doi: 10.1093/condor/102.4.838
    Joshua, G., Ali, Z., Ayub, M., Nadeem, S.I., 2021. Heavy metal contamination in wild avian species inhabiting human-modified habitats. Environ. Monit. Assess. 193, 588. doi: 10.1007/s10661-021-09387-2
    Juárez, R., Chacón-Madrigal, E., Sandoval, L., 2020. Urbanization has opposite effects on the territory size of two passerine birds. Avian Res. 11, 11. doi: 10.1186/s40657-020-00198-6
    Kaisanlahti-Jokimaki, M.L., Jokimaki, J., Huhta, E., Siikamaki, P., 2012. Impacts of seasonal small-scale urbanization on nest predation and bird assemblages at tourist destinations. In: Lepczyk, C.A., Warren, P.S. (Eds. ), Urban Bird Ecology and Conservation. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, pp. 93-110.
    Kruger, H., Väänänen, VM., Holopainen, S., Nummi, P., 2018. The new faces of nest predation in agricultural landscapes-a wildlife camera survey with artificial nests. Eur. J. Wildlife Res. 64, 76. doi: 10.1007/s10344-018-1233-7
    Lan, S.S., Zhang, Q., Huang, Q., Chen, S., 2013. Breeding ecology of Chinese Bulbul in the urban environment of Hangzhou, China. Zool. Res. 34, 182-189.
    Leston, L.F.V., Rodewald, A.D., 2006. Are urban forests ecological traps for understory birds? An examination using northern cardinals. Biol. Conserv. 131, 566-574. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2006.03.003
    Lewis, K.P., 2004. How important is the statistical approach for analysing categorical data? A critique using artificial nests. Oikos 104, 305-315. doi: 10.1111/j.0030-1299.2004.12636.x
    Liker, A., Papp, Z., Bokony, V., Lendvai, A.Z., 2008. Lean birds in the city: body size and condition of house sparrows along the urbanization gradient. J. Anim. Ecol. 77, 789-795. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01402.x
    López-Flores, V., MacGregor-Fors, I., Schondube, J.E., 2009. Artificial nest predation along a neotropical urban gradient. Landscape Urban Plan. 92, 90-95. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.03.001
    Lothery, C.J., Thompson, C.F., Lawler, M.L., Sakaluk, S.K., 2014. Food supplementation fails to reveal a trade-off between incubation and self-maintenance in female House Wrens. PLoS One 9, e106260. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106260
    Lu, J.Q., Zhang, Z.B., 2004. Effects of habitat and season on removal and hoarding of seeds of wild apricot (Prunus armeniaca) by small rodents. Acta Oecol. 26, 247-254. doi: 10.1016/j.actao.2004.08.002
    Major, R.E., Gowing, G., Kendal, C.E., 1996. Nest predation in Australian urban environments and the role of the Pied Currawong, Strepera Graculina. Aust. J. Ecol. 21, 399-409. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.1996.tb00626.x
    Malpass, J.S., Rodewald, A.D., Matthews, S.N., 2015. Woody cover does not promote activity of nest predators in residential yards. Landscape Urban Plan. 135, 32-39. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.11.004
    Marzluff, J.M., 2001. Worldwide urbanization and its effects on birds. In: Marzluff, J.M., Bowman, R., Donelly, R. (Eds. ), Avian Ecology and Conservation in an Urbanizing World. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, pp. 19-47.
    Marzluff, J.M., Bowman, R., Donelly, R. 2001. A historical perspective on urban bird research: trends, terms, and approaches. In: Marzluff, J.M., Bowman, R., Donelly, R. (Eds. ), Avian Ecology and Conservation in an Urbanizing World. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, pp. 1-17.
    Moeller, A.R., 2012. Urban areas as refuges from predators and flight distance of prey. Behav. Ecol. 23, 1030-1035. doi: 10.1093/beheco/ars067
    Moore, R.P., Robinson, W.D., 2004. Artificial bird nests, external validity, and bias in ecological field studies. Ecology 85, 1562-1567. doi: 10.1890/03-0088
    Morgan, D.K.J., Waas, J.R., Innes, J., Fitzgerald, N., 2011. Identification of nest predators using continuous time-lapse recording in a New Zealand city. New Zeal. J. Zool. 38, 343-347. doi: 10.1080/03014223.2011.607835
    O'hUallachain, D., 2014. Nest site location and success rates of an urban population of Woodpigeon (Columba Palumbus) in Ireland. Biol. Environ. 114B, 13-17. doi: 10.1353/bae.2014.0014
    Patterson, L., Kalle, R., Downs, C., 2016. Predation of artificial bird nests in suburban gardens of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Urban Ecosyst. 19, 615-630. doi: 10.1007/s11252-016-0526-4
    R Core Team, 2021. R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. https://www.R-project.org/.
    Ricklefs, R., 1969. Analysis of nesting mortality in birds. Smithsonian Contrib. Zool. 9, 1-48. doi: 10.5479/si.00810282.9
    Robinson, W.D., Styrsky, J.N., Brawn, J.D., 2005. Are artificial bird nests effective surrogates for estimating predation on real bird nests? A test with tropical birds. Auk 122, 843-852. doi: 10.1093/auk/122.3.843
    Ryder, T.B., Reitsma, R., Evans, B., Marra, P., 2010. Quantifying avian nest survival along an urbanization gradient using citizen- and scientist-generated data. Ecol. Appl. 20, 419-426. doi: 10.1890/09-0040.1
    Shochat, E., Warren, P.S., Faeth, S.H., McIntyre, N.E., Hope, D., 2006. From patterns to emerging processes in mechanistic urban ecology. Trends Ecol. Evol. 21, 187-191.
    Sloan, S.S., Holmes, R.T., Sherry, T.W., 1998. Depredation rates and predators at artificial bird nests in an unfragmented northern hardwoods forest. J. Wildlife Manage. 62, 529-539. doi: 10.2307/3802326
    Sorace, A., 2002. High density of bird and pest species in urban habitats and the role of predator abundance. Ornis Fennica 79, 60-71.
    Teglhøj, P.G., 2018. Artificial nests for barn swallows Hirundo rustica: a conservation option for a declining passerine? Hous. Theor. Soc. 65, 385-395. doi: 10.1080/00063657.2018.1516192
    Thorington, K.K., Bowman, R., 2003. Predation rate on artificial nests increases with human housing density in suburban habitats. Ecography 26, 188-196. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0587.2003.03351.x
    Verdolin, J.L., 2006. Meta-analysis of foraging and predation risk trade-offs in terrestrial systems. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 60, 457-464. doi: 10.1007/s00265-006-0172-6
    Vincze, E., Seress, G., Lagisz, M., Nakagawa, S., Dingemanse, N.J., Sprau, P., 2017. Does urbanization affect predation of bird nests? A meta-analysis. Front. Ecol. Evol. 5, 1-12. doi: 10.1080/10510974.2017.1413410
    Wang Y., 2003. Study on adaptations of birds in Hangzhou to urbanization. Master's Thesis. Zhejiang University, Hangzhou.
    Wang, Y., Chen, S., Ding, P., 2003. Breeding birds and their nests in street tree strips in Hangzhou city. Zool. Res. 24, 259-264.
    Wang, Y., Chen, S., Jiang, P., Ding, P., 2008. Black-Billed Magpies (Pica pica) adjust nest characteristics to adapt to urbanization in Hangzhou, China. Can. J. Zool. 86, 676-684. doi: 10.1139/Z08-045
    Wang, Y., Chen, S., Blair, R.B., Jiang, P., Ding, P., 2009. Nest composition adjustments by Chinese Bulbuls (Pycnonotus sinensis) in an urbanized landscape of Hangzhou (E China). Acta Ornithol. (Wars.) 44, 185-192. doi: 10.3161/000164509X482768
    Wang, Y., Ding, P., Chen, S., Zheng, G., 2013. Nestedness of bird assemblages on urban woodlots: implications for conservation. Landscape Urban Plan. 111, 59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.11.008
    Willebrand, T., Marcstr, V., 1988. On the danger of using dummy nests to study predation. Auk 105, 378-379. doi: 10.2307/4087508
    Wood, W.E., Yezerinac, S.M., 2006. Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) song varies with urban noise. Auk 123, 650-659. doi: 10.1093/auk/123.3.650
    Wu, H., Liu, D., Wei, M., Qi, Y., Shao, C., Chu, H., 2021. Community diversities of rodents and its relationship with environmental factors in the Mt. Kalamaili Ungulate Nature Reserve, Xinjiang. Acta Ecol. Sin. 41, 9511-9524.
    Yang, X., Tan, X., Chen, C., Wang, Y., 2020. The influence of urban park characteristics on bird diversity in Nanjing, China. Avian Res. 11, 45. doi: 10.1186/s40657-020-00234-5
    Zanette, L., 2002. What do artificial nests tells us about nest predation? Biol. Conserv. 103, 323-329. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(01)00143-4
    Zhang, Q., 2014. Responses of life history traits of Chinese Bulbul to urbanization. Master's Thesis. Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua.
    Zhang, F.S., Wang, Y., Wu, K., Xu, W.Y., Wu, J., Liu, Y.J., Wang, X.Y., Shuai, L.Y., 2020. Effects of artificial light at night on foraging behavior and vigilance in a nocturnal rodent. Sci. Total. Environ. 724, 138271. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138271
    Zhuge, Y., 1990. Fauna of Zhejiang: Aves. Zhejiang Science and Technology Press, Hangzhou.
  • 加载中


    通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
    • 1. 

      沈阳化工大学材料科学与工程学院 沈阳 110142

    1. 本站搜索
    2. 百度学术搜索
    3. 万方数据库搜索
    4. CNKI搜索

    Figures(3)  / Tables(1)

    Article Metrics

    Article views (25) PDF downloads(1) Cited by()
    Proportional views


    DownLoad:  Full-Size Img  PowerPoint