Yellow Wagtails (Passeriformes, Motacillidae) are indicators of steppe and meadow landscapes

Submitted: 28 July 2023
Accepted: 5 October 2023
Published: 24 April 2024
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Levels of nesting site selection were identified: landscape level is related to birds’ choice of landscape with yellow, pink, white, and green aspects. Ecosystem level corresponds to the detection of a water body by birds. The birds detect a station with the necessary vegetation association, where grasses and meadow halophytic associations are the basis of vegetation. The local (point) level is caused by the presence of a necessary host plant, which is a protector of birds’ nests. The main signals for the selection of nesting conditions for yellow wagtails as a reflection of semiotics are (in order): landscape – habitats of predominantly yellow, less frequently pink, white and green aspects; ecosystem – proximity of a water body (river, lake, etc.); statistical – halophytic associations. The following aspects of the nesting habitats are considered: ecosystem – proximity to a water body (river, lake, etc.); statistical – halophytic vegetation and grasses on sandy loam, loamy, solonchak soils suitable for nesting holes; local (point) – presence of host plant to protect the nest. Birds select nesting habitats based on the availability of all available signals, which increases the possibility and success of colony formation. The manifestation of semiotics: yellow wagtails in the nesting habitat tend to lose their visibility and dissolve into the background of the biotope, which is a special adaptation against predator attack.

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