Predicting the functional response of a farmland bird
Article first published online: 7 JUL 2006
Volume 20, Issue 4, pages 723–730, August 2006
How to Cite
STILLMAN, R. A. and SIMMONS, V. L. (2006), Predicting the functional response of a farmland bird. Functional Ecology, 20: 723–730. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2006.01155.x
- Issue published online: 7 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 7 JUL 2006
- Received 1 February 2006; revised 12 May 2006; accepted 23 May 2006 Editor: Charles Fox
- Agricultural change;
- food competition;
- foraging behaviour
- 1Mechanistic models may be able to predict how changes in agricultural practice influence farmland bird populations. A key component of these models is the link between food and competitor densities and the rate at which birds consume food, i.e. the functional response.
- 2This paper tests whether the functional response of a farmland bird, the rook Corvus frugilegus, can be predicted from three parameters: searching speed, food detection distance and handling time. It is often difficult to measure the functional response of farmland birds directly, but it may be possible to measure behavioural parameters more quickly.
- 3We performed experiments in which rooks fed on a range of artificial food densities in two grass sward heights. Food detection distance was greater in the shorter sward, but sward height did not influence searching speed or handling time. The functional response could be accurately predicted in both sward heights.
- 4We show that the functional response of a farmland bird can be predicted from parameters that can be measured more quickly than the alternative of measuring the functional response directly. This implies that the functional responses of other farmland birds may be predicted using a minimum of information.