This paper describes the distribution and behavior of passerine birds within 1 km of Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus eyries in western Greenland. Passerine populations were censused in 1983 around six cliffs occupied by nesting Peregrines and at six sites on the open tundra, and in 1984 at two unoccupied sites suitable for Peregrine nesting. Four passerine species accounted for over 90% of birds seen. Within 400 m of Peregrine occupied cliffs, three species, Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus. Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, and Common Redpoll Carduelisflammea, were found in lower than average abundance while the fourth, Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis, was found in increased abundance. Our indirect tests suggest that Peregrine presence, rather than direct predation, was responsible for the distributions of the first three species. The Snow Bunting, however, behaviourally adapts to Peregrine presence in order to exploit nesting habitat available at the cliff base. These results contrast strongly with those reported by other Arctic workers, where increased abundances of potential prey were observed in close proximity to nesting Peregrines.
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Distribution and behaviour of passerines around peregrine Falco peregrinus eyries in western Greenland