The overlapping breeding territories of several shore bird species.
- Department of Zoology, University of Auckland
The study of territory has been a popular interest for both ornithologists and mammalogists. Orians and Willson (1964) and Simmons (1951) review numerous papers describing the territories of individual species and the interspecific territories of closely related species "competing" for common ground. To date however, the literature indicates little interest in the way a specific area might be defended and exploited by a variety of territorial and nomadic species of birds. Studies nave been made of the overlapping territories of blackbird (Turdus merula) and thrush (Turdus philomelos) in the Oxford Botanic Garden (Davies and Snow, 1965; Snow, 1958), of jaegers and owls of the Alaskan tundra (Pitelka et al, 1955); of the several species of tits in northern hemisphere woodland (Gibb, 1956; Hinde, 1952) and of the covey territories of partridges (Blank and Asn, 1956).
The present study is of a unique association of bird species on Rangatira Island (176¡11'W, 44¡22'S), in the Chatham Islands. Seven species shared the rocky coastline and held breeding territories there throughout summer.