Chinese Birds
Chinese Birds 2013, 4(4) 281-290 DOI:   10.5122/cbirds.2013.0032  ISSN: 1674-7674 CN: 11-5870/Q

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habitat utilization
wintering ecology
Hooded Crane (Grus monacha)
goose guild
Fengting ZHAO
Lizhi ZHOU
Wenbin XU
Article by Fengting ZHAO
Article by Lizhi ZHOU
Article by Wenbin XU

Habitat utilization and resource partitioning of wintering Hooded Cranes and three goose species at Shengjin Lake

Fengting ZHAO 1, Lizhi ZHOU 1,*, Wenbin XU 2

1 School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Anhui University, Hefei 230601, China 2 Anhui Shengjin Lake National Nature Reserve, Dongzhi 247200, China


The loss and degradation of wetlands have adversely affected waterbirds, which depend on wetland habitats. Interspecific competition has an important effect on habitat utilization of wintering waterbirds. Resource utilization, including partitioning, in degraded wetlands has become a hot issue in ecological studies of wintering waterbirds. In order to have an insight into the habitat utilization and resource partitioning between a Hooded Crane (Grus monacha) population and the guild of three goose species, i.e., Anser fabalis, A. albifrons and A. erythropus wintering in lake wetlands, we carried out a study at Shengjin Lake National Nature Reserve from November 2011 to April 2012. We surveyed the Hooded Cranes and goose guild foraging in various habitats during the wintering periods with a combined method of fixed route searching and fixed site observations. Resource partitioning was studied by means of calculating habitat utilization rates and the width and overlap of spatial niches. The results showed that the habitat utilization rate and the width of spatial niches of the Hooded Crane population and goose guild shifted with the season. The habitat utilization rates of the cranes in grasslands were high at all three wintering stages. The habitat utilization rates were 0.454, 0.435 and 0.959 respectively for the Hooded Cranes and 0.627, 0.491 and 0.616 for the goose guild. This suggests that the overlap in grasslands was higher between cranes and goose guild. Most habitats were accessible at the middle stage, so the width of the spatial niche of the cranes (1.099) and goose guild (1.133) both reached their peak at this stage. The greatest niche overlap was 0.914 for these two groups at the late stage, followed by 0.906 at the middle stage and the smallest was 0.854 at the early stage. Ecological response to the changes in habitats of wintering waterbirds was clearly shown in the dynamic variations of the niche of both the Hooded Cranes and the three goose species. Coexistence among waterbirds was achieved by regulation of niche width to reduce niche overlap and relieve interspecific resource partitioning.

Keywords habitat utilization   niche   wintering ecology   Hooded Crane (Grus monacha)   goose guild  
Received 2013-03-13 Revised  Online: 2013-08-20 
DOI: 10.5122/cbirds.2013.0032
Corresponding Authors: Lizhi Zhou
About author:

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