Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.14. (2004) p.1-13.

Nest construction and roosting behaviour of a Crested Lark Galerida cristata population nesting on flat roofs in Hungary
Z. Orbán

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From the two basic types of flat roofs, one covered with shingle and the other with tar-boards, only the shingled roofs were selected for nesting by Crested Larks Galerida cristata. Breeding birds preferred the provided artificial breeding nestboxes to the natural, open nest sites. The nest sites were characteristically placed in locations that provided shelter and protection from the South or South-Western direction. As breeding coincides with the warmest months of the year this preference guarantees the highest breeding success, as these sites are the coolest. A roosting period precedes the incubation period, and overlaps with the primary phase of nest construction. Crested larks mostly spent the nights on those roofs where they later built their nests. Sites selected for spending the night were more scattered than nesting sites, and provided protection mostly from the northern direction. As this period is the coolest part of the year, survival of the bird depends to a large extent on the ability of maintaining body temperature and conserving energy most efficiently. This goal might be best achieved through the avoidance of exposure to wind and keeping the feathers dry. Therefore birds prefer the most windprotected locations on the roofs, which, at the same time, are also the driest.