The Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) is a strictly protected raptor species in Hungary (ca 600 pairs). It naturally breeds in rook, crow or magpie nests that are rebuilt every year, however, most of these nests disappeared by the end of the 20th century. In the early 2000’s more than a 3,000 artificial nest boxes were installed in the country, increasing the number of breeding pairs considerably. This prompts the question whether breeding birds might face an increased number of nest-dwelling ectoparasites due to the annual re-use of nesting sites. The nest material was collected from 59 nest boxes (not cleaned for 3 years) in Northern Hungary after the breeding season in 2009 and from 17 nest boxes (cleaned in previous year) in 2010. Emerging dipteran imagoes were identified to species level. Altogether 45,487 individuals of 42 fly species (2010: 37, 2011: 14) were reared; 88.1% of that was Carnus hemapterus, a well-known blood-sucking parasite. The number of C. hemapterus was significantly higher in nests where the last breeding bird species was Common Kestrel than Red-footed Falcon. In freshly cleaned nest boxes one order of magnitude lower number of C. hemapterus specimens were found. Our results indicate the necessity of cleaning the nest boxes annually.
Soltész & al Dipteran assemblages in Red-footed Falcon nest boxes
Soltész Z, Seres N, Kovács-Hostyánszki A
Dipteran assemblages in Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) nest boxes
Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 64:(1) pp. 91-102.
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