Habitat choice and vigilance behaviour of brush-tailed rock-wallabies (Petrogale penicillata) within their nocturnal foraging ranges

Carter, Kerryn and Goldizen, Anne W. (2003) Habitat choice and vigilance behaviour of brush-tailed rock-wallabies (Petrogale penicillata) within their nocturnal foraging ranges. Wildlife Research, 30 4: 355-364. doi:10.1071/WR02095


Author Carter, Kerryn
Goldizen, Anne W.
Title Habitat choice and vigilance behaviour of brush-tailed rock-wallabies (Petrogale penicillata) within their nocturnal foraging ranges
Journal name Wildlife Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1035-3712
Publication date 2003-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/WR02095
Volume 30
Issue 4
Start page 355
End page 364
Total pages 10
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Language eng
Subject C1
270703 Terrestrial Ecology
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract Habitat choice by brush-tailed rock-wallabies (Petrogale penicillata) in south-east Queensland was investigated by comparing the attributes of the nocturnal foraging locations that they selected with those of random locations within a radius of 50 m. Brush-tailed rock-wallabies were shown to select foraging locations on the basis of forage quality and/or their ability to see predators, rather than protection from predators amongst vegetation that could conceal them. Habitat choice may have been affected by limited food availability, as this study was conducted in the winter dry season. The attributes of foraging locations that brush- tailed rock-wallabies perceived as increasing their predation risk were assessed by recording the proportion of time that brush- tailed rock-wallabies spent vigilant while foraging. To measure vigilance, focal animals were observed with a night- vision scope for two minutes and the proportions of time spent vigilant and feeding were recorded. No measured feature of foraging locations was related to higher vigilance levels, suggesting that brush- tailed rock-wallabies did not alter their vigilance whether sheltered amongst grass tussocks or in open habitat, or whether feeding on good quality or poorer quality vegetation. Vigilance levels significantly declined as overnight temperatures decreased, which may have resulted from higher energy requirements of brush- tailed rock-wallabies during winter. The only factors that were found to significantly increase vigilance levels were high winds and moonlit nights. On bright nights, brush- tailed rock-wallabies were very unsettled and during high winds they often did not emerge to feed. More information is needed about how macropods detect predators at night before the effects of wind and light intensity upon vigilance can be fully understood.
Keyword Ecology
Zoology
New-south-wales
Group-size
Owl Predation
Risk
Kangaroos
Rodents
Rates
Gray
Q-Index Code C1
Additional Notes DOI:10.1071/WR02095

 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 05:13:59 EST