Breeding habitat selection of urban peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) in London

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Abstract

Understanding habitat selection by individual animals within their home range is crucial to facilitating their conservation. Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) populations are increasingly urbanised, but little is known about their urban habitat use. In this study, we analysed the breeding habitat selection of peregrine falcons in London, United Kingdom, based on nest site locations identified through records of public sightings submitted to an online database between 2003 and 2018. We found peregrines displayed a preference for nesting in proximity to waterbodies, built-up areas and public parks and gardens, while wooded, agricultural and allotments areas were least preferred. We hypothesise that peregrines seek contrasting topography that proves advantageous for hunting in the vicinity of their nests, resulting in their selection of breeding sites within tall buildings that are adjacent to suitable foraging areas. From these findings, we conclude that (i) social drivers such as demand for green spaces and waterbodies near buildings shape peregrine nesting opportunities in the city and (ii) for urban planning to support conservation, we need further understanding of how each type of greenspace may be used differentially by raptors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Urban Ecology
Volume7
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2021

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