We located 511 Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) nests in bottomland hardwood forest of eastern Arkansas. Microhabitat characteristics were measured and their relationship with nest success evaluated. Fifty-two percent of all nesting attempts resulted in predation. Attributes of nest placement were similar between successful and unsuccessful nests, although successful nests were placed higher. Similarly, nonparasitized nests were typically higher than parasitized nests. Nests initiated late in the breeding season were placed in larger trees with higher canopy bases resulting in increased vegetation around the nest. Fifteen different tree species were used for nesting. Acadian Flycatchers chose nest trees in a nonrandom fashion, selecting Nuttall oak (Quercus nuttallii) and possumhaw (Ilex decidua) in greater proportions than their availability. However, there was no relationship between tree species used for nesting and nest success. Nest height was positively correlated with concealment at the nest site, supporting the predator-avoidance theory. No other attribute of nest placement differentiated successful nest sites, suggesting that nest predation is likely a function of random events in space and time.
Additional publication details
Acadian flycatcher nest placement: Does placement influence reproductive success?