Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Breeding behaviour, home range and habitat selection in Rock Firefinches (Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis) in the wet and dry season in central Nigeria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MJ Brandt, Will Cresswell

School/Research organisations


Knowledge of a species' movement behaviour and habitat choice is a prerequisite for assessing its ecological requirements to plan successful conservation strategies. Little is known about these factors in the Rock Firefinch, a recently described species which is probably endemic to the Jos Plateau in central Nigeria. We investigated home range size, habitat use and breeding behaviour of the Rock Firefinch in Amurum forest reserve in central Nigeria during the wet (August-October) and the dry season (November-December) using radiotracking. Birds showed high site fidelity. They mainly moved alone or in pairs but did not have exclusive home ranges. Home range size tended to be larger during the dry season due to long movements to water sources. Birds generally preferred inselberg habitat and avoided farmland. During the dry season they additionally utilized gallery forests where water was readily available, and as a result of having to cross scrub savannah to get to water, scrub savannah was also more heavily used during the dry season. Birds bred between the late rainy (September-October) and the early dry season (November). Nest-sites were associated with rocky boulders. Both sexes contributed to incubation. Daily egg survival rate calculated using the Mayfield method was 0.89 (0.83-0.95 95% confidence interval); no nests failed during the chick stage, but sample size was only four nests. Of all 14 nests found, 50% were depredated and only 29% of breeding attempts succeeded in producing Rock Firefinch chicks. A second breeding attempt was recorded when the first one failed. Chick production just about compensated adult mortality (measured in a separate study at the site) such that the population is probably stable at present. However, given the large uncertainty in our underlying assumptions, more data are needed to confirm this. We suggest that the presence of inselberg habitat in close proximity to water sources is the essential and limiting resource for this species.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-507
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008

    Research areas

  • breeding, habitat selection, home range, Rock Firefinch, tropics, GRANIVOROUS BIRDS, WATER ECONOMY, WEST-AFRICA, JOS PLATEAU, ORGANIZATION, RESOURCES

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Female song in the Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca

    Patchett, R., Kirschel, A. N. G., Robins King, J., Styles, P. & Cresswell, W., 27 May 2021, In: Journal of Ornithology.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Duet codes do not enhance neighbour recognition in two closely related species of duetting neotropical wrens

    Quiros Guerrero, E., Rivera-Cáceres, K., Janeiro Silva, M. J., Cresswell, W. & Templeton, C. N., 27 Jan 2021, In: Journal of Avian Biology. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Training future generations to deliver evidence-based conservation and ecosystem management

    Downey, H., Amano, T., Cadotte, M., Cook, C. N., Cooke, S. J., Haddaway, N. R., Jones, J. P. G., Littlewood, N., Walsh, J. C., Abrahams, M. I., Adum, G., Akasaka, M., Alves, J. A., Antwis, R. E., Arellano, E. C., Axmacher, J., Barclay, H., Batty, L., Benítez-López, A., Bennett, J. R. & 98 others, Berg, M. J., Bertolino, S., Biggs, D., Bolam, F. C., Bray, T., Brook, B. W., Bull, J. W., Burivalova, Z., Cabeza, M., Chauvenet, A. L. M., Christie, A. P., Cole, L., Cotton, A. J., Cotton, S., Cousins, S. A. O., Craven, D., Cresswell, W., Cusack, J. J., Dalrymple, S. E., Davies, Z. G., Diaz, A., Dodd, J. A., Felton, A., Fleishman, E., Gardner, C. J., Garside, R., Ghoddousi, A., Gilroy, J. J., Gill, D. A., Gill, J. A., Glew, L., Grainger, M. J., Grass, A. A., Greshon, S., Gundry, J., Hart, T., Hopkins, C. R., Howe, C., Johnson, A., Jones, K. W., Jordan, N. R., Kadoya, T., Kerhoas, D., Koricheva, J., Lee, T. M., Lengyel, S., Livingstone, S. W., Lyons, A., McCabe, G., Millett, J., Strevens, C. M., Moolna, A., Mossman, H. L., Mukherjee, N., Muñoz-Sáez, A., Negrões, N., Norfolk, O., Osawa, T., Papworth, S., Park, K. J., Pellet, J., Phillott, A. D., Plotnik, J. M., Priatna, D., Ramos, A. G., Randall, N., Richards, R. M., Ritchie, E. G., Roberts, D. L., Rocha, R., Rodríguez, J. P., Sanderson, R., Sasaki, T., Savilaakso, S., Sayer, C., Sekercioglu, C., Senzaki, M., Smith, G., Smith, R. J., Soga, M., Soulsbury, C. D., Steer, M. D., Stewart, G., Strange, E. F., Suggitt, A. J., Thompson, R. R. J., Thompson, S., Thornhill, I., Trevelyan, R. J., Usieta, H. O., Venter, O., Webber, A. D., White, R. L., Whittingham, M. J., Wilby, A., Yarnell, R. W., Zamora, V. & Sutherland, W. J., 25 Jan 2021, In: Ecological Solutions and Evidence. 2, 1, 11 p., e12032.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Conservation research output in sub-Saharan Africa is increasing, but only in a few countries

    Pototsky, C. & Cresswell, W., 2 Dec 2020, In: Oryx. 54, FirstView, 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Movements of Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca fledglings: evidence of a post-fledging home range away from the natal site prior to first migration

    Styles, P., Patchett, R. B., Robins King, J. & Cresswell, W., 25 Nov 2020, In: Journal of Ornithology. First Online, 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Ibis (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)

    17 Jun 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Ibis (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)

    27 Mar 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Ibis (Journal)

    Christian Rutz (Editor)


    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Ibis (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Editor)


    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. A non-destructive approach to collect nest material data using photographs

    Sugasawa, S., Edwards, S. C., Stanforth, R., Bruton, E., Hansell, M., Reilly, M. & Healy, S. D., 6 May 2021, In: Ibis. Early View, 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Evaluation of disruptive camouflage of avian cup-nests

    Mulder, T., Campbell, C. & Ruxton, G. D., Jan 2021, In: Ibis. 163, 1, p. 150-158

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Avian distraction displays: a review

    Humphreys, R. K. & Ruxton, G. D., 28 Sep 2020, In: Ibis. 162, 4, p. 1125-1145

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  4. Spring migration strategies of Whinchat Saxicola rubetra when successfully crossing potential barriers of the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea

    Blackburn, E., Burgess, M., Freeman, B., Risely, A., Izang, A., Ivande, S., Hewson, C. & Cresswell, W., Jan 2019, In: Ibis. 161, 1, p. 131-146

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Weak breeding seasonality of a songbird in a seasonally arid tropical environment arises from individual flexibility and strongly seasonal moult

    Nwaogu, C. J., Tieleman, B. I. & Cresswell, W., Jul 2019, In: Ibis. 161, 3, p. 533-545 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 403166