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Behav Processes. 2012 Sep;91(1):35-40. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2012.05.005. Epub 2012 May 22.

Ranging behaviour of little bustard males, Tetrax tetrax, in the lekking grounds.

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Departament de Biologia Animal, Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat de Biologia, Avinguda Diagonal, 643, 08028 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


We investigated the ranging behaviour during the breeding season of 18 radiotracked little bustard (Tetrax tetrax) males, a disperse-lekking species inhabiting the cereal pseudo-steppes. The average kernel 95% home range was 60±50 ha and the average cluster 85% area was 17±17 ha. Range structure was as relevant as home range size for explaining the variation in the ranging behaviour of males, which could be partially explained by age, habitat quality and site. Ranging behaviour varied from males defending small and concentrated home ranges with high habitat quality, to males holding larger home ranges composed by several arenas. Our results suggest that social dominance and resource availability may affect ranging behaviour of males during the breeding season. Also, mating systems constraints may play a role on the use of space of males within the lekking ground. The ranging behaviour of a given male may be determined by a tendency to reduce and concentrate the home range as age and social status increase, and several fine-tuning mechanisms adjusting the ranging behaviour to the prevailing environmental or social factors on a given site and year.

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