We analyse habitat use by an Iberian population of Tengmalms Owls during the breeding period of 1998 (February-April) in order to determine the structural traits of the habitat that are most suitable for this species. Vegetation structure was measured in 14 (150 Á—30) m plots that were occupied by breeding Owls and in 12 control plots that were not occupied. Presence of breeding Owls was associated to mature but open forests in which gaps and saplings were abundant, presenting also tree cavities, dead wood on the ground, and tree stups and other perches for hunting. A discriminant function that selected five structural variables (Table 3) classified correctly 92.3% of the plots as either occupied or not. On the basis of these results, we suggest forest management practices that will enhance the presence of dead wood and trees with cavities for nesting as well as the structural heterogeneity of the habitat. These practices are ultimately aimed at favouring the persistence and expansion of Tengmalm’s Owls at the southern border of its distribution range.
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