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2010 | Vol. 58, nr 3 | 511-523
Tytuł artykułu

Seed dispersal by the Rook (Corvus frugilegus L.) in agricultural landscape - mechanisms and ecological importance

Warianty tytułu
Języki publikacji
The study aimed to evaluate the role of the Rook Corvus frugilegus in the long-distance seed dispersal in agricultural landscape. According to the literature, Rooks feed in the distance 0.3-1 km from the breeding colonies and 10-40 km from winter communal roosts, and these can be also the potential seed dispersal distances. We concentrated on the dispersal of diaspores of ornitochorous species and weeds (called non-ornitochorous) taken probably incidentally during foraging for other edible plant material. The contents of 528 pellets was analysed, 304 were collected at six sites of breeding colonies located in five rural parks and in one park on the city outskirts, and 224 under three winter roosts in the cities. Seeds representing 45 taxa were found, the most important groups among them are: ornitochorous species (10 taxa), non-ornitochorous (27 taxa, mainly weeds and ruderal species) and cereals (4 species). The mean number of seeds varied between 221 and 442 seeds per 100 pellets in the case of breeding colonies, and between 102 and 347 for wintering roosts. Fruits of ornitochorous species are an important element of the diet of the Rook: Cerasus avium and Fragaria sp. during breeding season and Vitis sp., Sorbus aucuparia and Sambucus nigra during winter. Nonornitochorous species are present in pellets in lower numbers and frequencies than ornitochorous ones and they can be divided into two groups: those transported during breeding season (mainly Stellaria media) and those during winter (Setaria sp. and Echinochloa crus-galli). We estimated that the number of non-ornitochorous seeds transported by birds from the biggest observed winter roosts can exceed 400 thousands seeds per month. The value is much lower in the case of the biggest breeding colony: approximately 16 thousands of propagules. We also checked if species found in pellets can germinate in natural conditions under the studied colonies. Viable individuals of 15 nonornitochorous and of one ornitochorous species were found there, and it was observed that disturbances of soil surface promote germination of some analysed species. @eng

Opis fizyczny
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