Abstract and Summary

The role of early experience in habitat selection in linnets (Acanthis cannabina) was tested in automatic habitat cages. Young linnets were kept in groups under three different habitat conditions: spruce-, foliage- and plastic-perches. In a choice test the members of the spruce- and the foliage-group preferred their familiar habitat whereas the “plastic”-group showed this preference only on the first experimental day and then behaved at random on the following days. In a further aviary experiment the females of the spruce-group constructed nests in small spruce trees, whereas the females of the foliage-group constructed nests in small foliage bushes. The early habitat experience seems strongly to influence later habitat and nest-site selection in the linnets.